Foreign relay teams likely in Indian meets ahead of Tokyo Olympics

The AFI has also decided to move the Indian Grand Prix-4 (June 15) and the Inter-State Nationals (June 25-29) from Bengaluru to Patiala.

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) is working on ways to get its athletes ready for the Tokyo Olympics which open on July 23. (REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE)   -  Getty Images

Despite the uncertainty over flights, the long quarantine in many countries and the worrying COVID-19 situation, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) is working on ways to get its athletes ready for the Tokyo Olympics which open on July 23.

“Every day something new comes up, the countries might be open for flights but a lot of countries are not allowing Indians to come,” said Adille Sumariwalla, the AFI president.

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“We are trying to send different batches to different countries. We will have to see the competitions they are going for, is it a competition for qualification or not, whether they can go for a camp, whether they can go to a neighbouring country, there are so many things being worked out.”

And if countries insist on a 14-day quarantine, the AFI could even bring in foreign relay teams to run in Indian meets.

“Yes, that is also on the plan. We will do that if required. We will have to see who is ready to come, how they will come, when they will come. We are in conversation with people there also,” he said.

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NATIONAL MEETS SHIFTED TO PATIALA

The AFI has also decided to move the Indian Grand Prix-4 (June 15) and the Inter-State Nationals (June 25-29) from Bengaluru to Patiala.

“We are moving them to Patiala, the dates remain the same,” he said.

Sumariwalla felt that just when the preparations were coming together nicely, the situation started to deteriorate.

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“We were doing fantastically, everything was going fine and you saw the good results we had in the Federation Cup. We had so many national records, never had so many before.

“So, our athletes were in very good shape and prepared. And that final competition, that final edge which you need for the Olympics, that got hampered. That is the problem.”

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