Athletics Federation of India leaves athletes in the dark ahead of Asian Games
Athletics Federation of India (AFI) had made it mandatory for all athletes to compete in the national inter-state senior athletics championships to achieve the August 18-September 2 Asian Games qualifying mark. The dates of the national championships is not out officially yetother sports Updated: Apr 24, 2018 00:01 IST
With just nine weeks to the June 30 deadline of naming athletics squad for Asian Games, India’s top athletes are still unaware of the date of selection trials.
The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) had made it mandatory for all athletes to compete in the national inter-state senior athletics championships to achieve the Asian Games qualifying mark. The competition, however, was scheduled for July 15-18 in Kolkata.
Though it has been advanced to June 23-26, the change hasn’t been announced officially, leaving the players in the dark. “That’s the dates on which the ground has been booked. We hope it will not change,” said Kamal Mitra, secretary general of the West Bengal Athletics Association.
The athletes are perplexed. “At this moment, we are confused because there is no official announcement. Shifting the important competition by two weeks will mean changing our training plans,” said an athlete who had participated in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games (CWG).
AFI had messed up ahead of the CWG also through scheduling of the final qualification competition which ended on March 8, a day after the CWG deadline expired. Sidharth Yadav (high jump), G Vijayakumari (400m relay) and M Sreeshankar (long jump) had to miss out despite achieving the qualification standards.
Vijayakumari was a member of the 4x400m relay team and her absence hurt India’s chances. The Indian relay team finished seventh in the eight-team final.
Though the Indian Olympic Association of India (IOA) had appealed to the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), its request was turned down.
For the Asian Games, the AFI has appealed to the Asian Athletics Association (AAA) and Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) to extend the deadline till July 18. However, it is yet to get any response. “We are trying to sort out the issue,” said AFI president Adille Sumariwalla.