AFI to send elite Indian athletes abroad for competition next week
Express News Service
CHENNAI: If everything goes as per plan, some of the elite Indian athletes would be travelling to Kyrgyzstan on June 9 or 10 for their first international meet since the pandemic last year. The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has started the visa process and are expecting to get it done by June 9 at least.
According to a top AFI official, a select few athletes including the relay teams and shot putter Tajinder Pal Singh Toor would be travelling to Kyrgyzstan to participate at T Kolpakova (a Permit Meet and World Athletics category D event) on June 12 and 13. The 4x100m women’s team along with the 4x400m women’s and men’s are expected to participate. None of the above-mentioned teams have qualified.
AFI president Adille Sumariwalla confirmed that a select few athletes would travel to Biskek and then to Kazakhstan to compete at the Qosanov Memorial in Almaty on June 19-20. Long-jumper Murali Shreeshankar is skipping the meet because of a niggle. He is expected to participate at the inter-state senior nationals in Patiala later The other teams will return to Patiala for the June 25-29 meet.
“Our plan is the send a few athletes to Kyrgyzstan and then to Kazakhstan where they would be joined by other athletes,” said Sumariwalla. As for visa issues to travel to those countries, he said: “I don’t see there should be any visa issues.”
The AFI had earlier announced that the Indian Grand Prix would be held on June 15, however, as of now they are yet to finalise the venue. The event might not be held if Indian athletes compete in Kyrgystan and Kazakhstan. According to the AFI chief because of logistical issues, the event would not be held as of now.
The AFI has identified the countries who would be participating at the inter-state competition but they have not invited them as of now. “We have identified the countries but we have not sent out an invitation to any of the countries but they would be our neighbours,” said Sumariwalla.
Tajinder has been keen on competing as he nees points to consolidate his position in the Road to Tokyo list — he is precariously placed at 29 – by accumulating as many points as possible if not attaining the qualifying standard of 21.10m. They are expecting to do it soon. Top 32 qualifies for Olympics.
The 4x100m relay team is ranked 22 in Race to Tokyo with a timing of 43.81s. The top 16 teams qualify with holding that position or with a qualifying timing of 43.05s.
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