AFI Change in schedule causes Indian athletes to reset plans

The AFI schedule had to be redrawn because the OCA had set a July 15 deadline for final entries for the Asian Games.

Two major domestic athletics meets, the Senior Federation Cup and the Inter-State Championships, have been moved up by one month, forcing top athletes to change their training and competition schedules in an already hectic year.

However, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) stated that they were forced to reschedule due to the need to submit final entries for the Asian Championships and Asian Games earlier than expected.

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has set July 15 as the deadline for final entries for the postponed Asian Games, which will be held in Hangzhou from September 23 to October 8. Similarly, the Asian Athletics Championships organisers have set a June 12 deadline for national federations to submit final entries.

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“We created our calendar in November, a year ahead of time.” However, Asian Athletics organisers now want entries 45 days in advance, while OCA wants entries 75 days in advance. Normally, we give out entries 14 days before the Olympics and Worlds. They suddenly want to know ahead of time. So we had to change it (the scheduling) now and have final trials earlier,” AFI president Adille Sumariwalla explained.

The Senior Federation Cup, which was originally scheduled for June 12-15, will now be held in Ranchi from May 15-18. It will be the final selection trial for the Asian Championships, which will be held in Pattaya from July 12 to July 16. From June 15 to 18, Bhubaneswar will host the National Inter-State Championships. The event will serve as a tryout for the Asian Games.

Athletes’ plans will have to be redrawn as a result of the changes. Murali Sreeshankar, Jeswin Aldrin, and Praveen Chithravel, for example, are already training abroad and preparing to compete in international meets.

Sreeshankar, a CWG silver medalist, was scheduled to compete in a meet in Greece as well as Diamond League meets before returning home in time for the Inter-state meet in July. He will now have to return earlier.

In addition, CWG gold medalist Eldhose Paul and silver medalist Abdulla Aboobacker were planning a tour abroad next month, competing in bronze and silver level events in Greece and France to earn ranking points that would help them qualify for the world championships.

“Of course, adjustments will be required, but a final trial is required.” As a result, coaches will make the necessary adjustments. “With so many major events planned, this is an important season,” said the AFI president.

It has been learned that the jumpers may request that AFI exempt them from Federation Cup and allow them to compete in international meets where they can earn more points for the world championships, with their performance in those events being considered for the Asian Championships.

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