MILO NIDJAM launch pad for AFI's Olympics plans

MUMBAI: The upcoming MILO National Inter-District Junior Athletics Meet (NIDJAM) 2019 is the platform from which the Athletics Federation of India's (AFI) plans for the 2028 and 2032 Olympic Games will be launched.

The event is scheduled from November 23 to 25. AFI high-performance director Volker Herrmann said in an official statement: "With athletes from over 500 districts taking part here, we will some exciting, finding raw talent.

"Some of these could go on to represent India in the Olympic Games in 2028 and 2032. We are sure we will have athletes competing in a number of events then," he added.

In addition to their performances, athletes will be assessed on the basis of some tests before they are selected to undergo training.

"Besides their physical parameters like height and weight, AFI will test them on the basis of two 20m runs, a long jump and a ball throw. These will give us an indication about the abilities of the under-14 and under-16 athletes," Herrmann said.

Herrmann said that the idea is to get all the semifinalists in track events and the finalists in field events undergo these tests.

He said it was important to help young athletes imbibe the right fundamentals.

"It is best to groom a new generation of athletes in a holistic way," Herrmann said. "Coaches must help athletes do the right things at the right age. I am happy that a number of young Indian coaches are getting themselves ready to do this," he added.

The MILO NIDJAM 2019 will see as many as 30 finals, 10 each for boys and girls in the under-16 age-group and five each for boys and girls in the under-14 group.

More than 4,500 athletes from nearly 500 districts around the country will compete in the 17th edition of AFI's flagship talent search programme.