After its suspension by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), the Karnataka Athletics Association (KAA) has made a plea to the AFI to allow its athletes to compete independently in next month's Open National athletics championships. But it is a request that is unlikely to be accepted by a furious parent body.
"The KAA has been suspended by the AFI because they pulled out of hosting the Open Nationals at the last minute. This despite having bid for the event one year ago. They are playing with the lives of over a thousand athletes from all over India. They are jeopardizing their futures. What about that? Now they are concerned about the 20-odd athletes from Karnataka. We can't [entertain their request]. If the athletes make a direct approach, then we will see," AFI president Adille Sumariwalla told Sportstar.
The former sprinter slammed the KAA. "They think it's a joke. You can't ditch us at the last minute. I believe in responsibility, good governance and transparency. This is total irresponsibility. I won't accept it. Are such associations required to remain? If they can't govern, all these people should go. We don't care for excuses. We care for the athletes," he said.
The KAA has cited the poor condition of the running track at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium as the reason for its pullout, blaming the Karnataka government's Dept. of Youth Empowerment and Sports for the delay in relaying the surface. But this cut no ice with the AFI.
"They knew the condition of the track when they made the bid. Besides, they could've used any synthetic track in Karnataka. Why didn't they conduct it in Mysuru or Mangaluru? The intention was not to do it. That is not right," said Sumariwalla.
The KAA Secretary A. Rajavelu had earlier spoken of his request to the AFI. "As an association, we take responsibility. But why should our athletes, who have trained for so long, suffer?" he asked.
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