NEW DELHI: The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) is hoping domestic competition can resume in September-October, and international competitions and training camps in early 2021.
Speaking during an online meeting of the AFI Planning Committee with athletes, coaches and support staff on Monday, April 13, AFI president Adille Sumariwalla said the targeted date for resumption of competition in India was September.
“We will try to resume our domestic competitions from September-October 2020 and for next year from March-April 2021,” Sumariwalla told athletes on Monday, as per an AFI media release.
“With the postponement of Olympics, we hope that now many young athletes also stand a chance to qualify for the Olympics 2021 while seniors need to focus on their existing fitness to grab this opportunity.
“At this stage we cannot say anything about any foreign exposure camp later in the year, but for sure, we will plan for international competitions-cum-training camps for 2021.
“We are monitoring the situation at the camps and when the situation allows, you will be allowed to train outside after the consultation with SAI,” he said.
The AFI President also urged athletes to take advantage of the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“We are really glad that all of you are fit and safe at camps in Patiala, Bengaluru and Ooty. With the 2020 Olympics being postponed to 2021, and the World Championships, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games scheduled to take place in 2022, it will be a tough challenge for you all,” Sumariwalla said.
“We have to use this opportunity of delay to our advantage and you have to be mentally prepared for these challenges from today itself. With the changed scenario and back-to-back major events planned for the next two years, we will have to adapt to a single phase of the competition period,” he added.
Most of the elite athletes - including javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, 400 metres runner Hima Das, shot putter Tajinder Toor, race walker KT Irfan and India’s 4x400m men’s and women’s relay teams - are currently training indoors in their rooms at the three national camps during the nationwide lockdown.
The online meeting was attended by more than 50 athletes and around 30 coaches and support staff along with AFI Planning Committee chairman Lalit Bhanot, national chief coach Bahadur Singh, deputy chief coach Radhakrishnan Nair and AFI High Performance director Volker Hermann.