AFI formulates plans for excelling in 2036 Olympics

AFI strategizes for 2036 Olympics with focus on athlete-friendly ecosystem, domestic competitions, foreign exposure, coaching, and sports science.

Published : Mar 10, 2024 19:10 IST , Thiruvananthapuram - 3 MINS READ

AFI president Adille Sumariwala.
AFI president Adille Sumariwala. | Photo Credit: FILE PHOTO/ GETTY IMAGES

AFI president Adille Sumariwala. | Photo Credit: FILE PHOTO/ GETTY IMAGES

The Athletics Federation of India’s (AFI) brainstorming meeting to formulate a strategic plan for excelling in the 2036 Olympics identified core areas which needed attention and necessity to create a friendly eco-system for the athletes, coaches and other stakeholders.

The AFI has decided to streamline the calendar to ensure that the athletes will have enough domestic competitions so that they can peak at the right time before major competitions. The AFI will also see that the athletes will get adequate foreign exposure.

Speaking to Sportstar after the conclusion of the five-day meeting, the AFI president Adille Sumariwala said there will be a two-point strategy starting with the junior programme mainly the National Inter-district Junior Athletic Meet (NIDJAM) and the Elite programme.

The AFI has decided to decentralize the national camps after the Paris Olympics and at the same time will allow institutions like Railways, Army, Navy, Police and academies run by JSW and Reliance Foundation to conduct camps at their respective centres. “We are changing the structure of the national camps allowing it to spread to other regions. Instead of holding a centralized national camp with an intake of 150 athletes, we want to spread it across the country. We will accord national camp status to training centres of institutions and academies. We will already have a monitoring cell and we will keep a close watch on the progress of athletes attached to these centres,’’ said the AFI president.

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The AFI president said the big thrust in the coming years will be on producing more level-one coaches in the country. “We want more coaches, and we wish to produce around 40,000 level one coaches by 2036 to cater to the needs of the affiliated districts of AFI. We need to educate the coaches at the junior level on the perils of overtraining, which results in burnout of athletes. We also need to enlighten the athletes, coaches and others about the use of forbidden substances. During the NIDJAM meet we distributed 10,000 books to the participants, which contained the list of banned drugs. We have a zero-tolerance policy on the use of needles and banned substances in our national camps. We Have put up a system where the athletes are constantly monitored, and we periodically conduct checks on the athlete’s rooms at national camps. We have banned the use of food supplements in national camps. We have sought the help of NADA to test athletes taking part in district and State meets,” he added.

The association in the coming years will concentrate more on sports science for formulating the training schedule and recovery process of the athletes. The AFI will also identify select disciplines where the country will have more chances of winning medals at the Olympics. “We will be concentrating on certain events which will be selected based on the historical performances and other factors. There is no point in concentrating on 20 events at a time, and we will cut to 10 or 12. Our aim will be to create a talent base which will put us in good stead for the future,’’ he added.

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