AFI Prez: No re-consideration on World C’Ships squad

AFI President Adille Sumariwalla said the performance of the three dropped athletes during the Asian Championships in Bhubaneswar were even worse than the junior national record.

Adille Sumariwalla: ‘We are not going to change the squad, it is final’.   -  K. Murali Kumar

 

Athletics Federation of India (AFI) today ruled out re-considering its decision of leaving out three athletes who had won gold medals in Asian Championships earlier this month from the World Championship squad, saying that their performances were not good enough for the top global event.

AFI President Adille Sumariwalla said the performance of the three dropped athletes during the Asian Championships in Bhubaneswar were even worse than the junior national record.

“We are not going to change the squad, it is final. The AFI has the final authority to send an athlete or not even if they qualify. The IAAF rules clearly say that,” he told PTI.

“Their performances were far below World Championships entry standards and are even worse than the junior national record. World Championships is not an exposure tour or a minor competition. The best of the world compete there and we cannot send athletes who are not upto certain standards,” he added.

Sudha Singh (women’s 3000m steeplechase), Ajoy Kumar Saroj (men’s 1500m) and P U Chitra (women’s 1500m) were not named in India’s 24-member squad even though they won gold medals in the Asian Championships earlier this month.

READ: P.T. Usha disappointed with Chithra's exclusion, says had nothing to do with it

The Asian Championships winners get an automatic berth for the August 4-13 World Championships in London but the global governing body IAAF’s rules were clear that the national federation is within its powers in not sending a continental event winner.

AFI Selection Committee Chairman Gurbachan Singh Randhawa has said that the performance of the three dropped athletes were nowhere near the IAAF’s entry standard of the World Championships and so they were not picked.

Chitra went to the extent of knocking at the door of Kerala High Court on the issue, but AFI today said that it will not budge under pressure.

Sumariwalla also termed criticism of the AFI for naming 13 officials for the World Championships as “baseless”.

“As per IAAF World Championships accommodation policy, the quota of coaches (who will get subsidised accommodation) is 80 per cent of numbers of athletes from each federation. We are sending only 50 per cent coaches though 80 per cent of officials are eligible to receive accommodation on subsidized rates,” he said.

“All the athletes participating in the Worlds receive free accommodation and travel from Organizing Committee irrespective of numbers. Hence, no official may take their place or eat into their free quota.”

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