AFI to stick to ‘campers only’ policy for relay squad

For relay teams, “coordination does not work without practice,” points out AFI secretary C. K. Valson.

C. K. Valson...“For team events, the athletes should stay together.”   -  Vipin Chandran

The Athletics Federation of India's decision to continue with its policy of considering only campers for relay races is based on more than one reason.

The AFI, which had announced that it would consider only campers for relay races in mega events this year, believes that if the 4x400m women's relay team prepares well, it can land a medal in the 2020 Olympics.

So, the AFI does not want to take any chance. On the conclusion of the National Open athletics meet here on Friday, AFI Adille Sumariwalla announced that the federation would stick to its ‘campers only’ policy as far as selection for the relay squad was concerned.

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AFI secretary C. K. Valson explained the logic behind the decision taken at an executive committee meeting. “For team events, the athletes should train together. The coordination does not work without practice. If you look at the stats, in the last few years the Indian relay teams have got disqualified four times,” Valson told Sporstar on Saturday.

'Can work on different strategies'

“If they train separately, then problems arise in baton changing and overall coordination. If the team trains together, then the coach can decide who will run at which position and can work on different strategies.”

Besides, the AFI does not want to take the risk of including a doper in a team event. “If they stay in the camp, all will be clean. We can take their responsibility. If athletes train individually, then it's their own responsibility to remain dope free,” said Valson.