Sports

‘Till a case is over, we will not know about updates on athletes’


The people who are not in the national camps, we are not comfortable with, says AFI chief Sumariwalla

The people who are not in the national camps, we are not comfortable with, says AFI chief Sumariwalla

The Athletics Federation of India has reiterated its commitment to prevent and eradicate doping from the sport but the absence of clarity on some of the elite athletes continues even as top officials hinted at their stand on those on the radar.

“Some athletes are provisionally suspended and some are not but the fact is that the cases are still under process or being challenged and the athletes and their lawyers are dealing with it. Till a case is over, we will not know about the updates. But if you see the people who are not in the national camps, those we are not comfortable with,” AFI president Adille Sumariwalla said at the conclusion of the three-day AGM here on Sunday.

The likes of discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur, javelin thrower Shivpal Singh and quartermiler Aishwarya Mishra are among those under suspicion and out of camps. Interestingly, there had been reports of M.R. Poovamma also failing a test despite being a national camper and continues to be in the list.

Working with NADA

“We are not a law-enforcement agency. What we are doing is talking and working with NADA, sharing intelligence and pushing the agencies to be present at all levels of competitions including district meets and recruitment drives. We are also seeking their help to be tougher on coaches and officials, specially those giving them to juveniles and juniors. NADA is planning to appoint more than 100 officials,” Sumariwalla added.

The AFI was also categorical that appointment of foreign coaches remains a short-term measure even as it plans to have 5000 Level 1 certified coaches in the next three years. “Coaching in athletics is not generic. We have attached several Indian coaches over years with foreign ones but learning new methods is not automatic. It also depends on a person’s ability to change and accept new thinking.

“We have involved several younger coaches now in national camps and monitoring the ones at grassroots don’t overtrain kids, but coaching a coach is not practical,” AFI Planning Commission president Lalit Bhanot declared.

The AFI also launched a ‘kids’ javelin’ to sustain the interest sparked by Neeraj Chopra’s Olympic gold, finalised the national and international calendar for the next year and ratified the national records set in the past few months, approved a model constitution for districts for increased transparency and made amendments to the AFI constitution as per the government’s demand to be in line with the Sports Code.



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