AFI writes to AAA over Asian Games entry deadline

The Asiad’s deadline for entries, by name, is June 30, but the AFI has scheduled its four-day final qualification meet, the Inter-State Nationals, in Kolkata, only from July 15.

AFI President Adille Sumariwalla feels that the CWG and the Asian Games do not follow the world body IAAF’s rules. (File Photo)   -  H.S. MANJUNATH

After the Commonwealth Games (CWG) fiasco, which saw the entries of three Indian athletes being rejected, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) could have trouble meeting the entry deadline for the coming Asian Games, too.

The Asiad’s deadline for entries, by name, is June 30, but the AFI has scheduled its four-day final qualification meet, the Inter-State Nationals, in Kolkata, only from July 15. It has also planned international exposure trips, for its top athletes, prior to this.

Despite the AFI’s and IOA’s best efforts, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) had rejected the entries of Haryana high jumper Sidharth Yadav, Kerala long jumper M. Sreeshankar and Karnataka relay runner G. Vijayakumari, as they did not figure in the long list, which had a November deadline. Only athletes in the long list were given accreditation, without which entries were not accepted later.

READ: Neeraj ready to enter 90m club

And though the CWG entry deadline was March 7, the AFI had its qualification meet, the Federation Cup, running until March 8. However, AFI President Adille Sumariwalla feels that the CWG, which ended in Gold Coast, on Sunday, and the Asian Games, from August 18 to September 2, at Jakarta and Palembang, in Indonesia, do not follow the world body IAAF’s rules, which do not have such early deadlines for the Olympics and Worlds.

“We have asked for clarification from the Asian Athletics Association, asking it, ‘are we going to follow the IAAF rules or are we not going to follow IAAF rules’,” Sumariwalla told Sportstar.

“However, we will have no problem. We will do what we need to do. If the Asian federation says that we are not going to follow the IAAF rules, then it is a larger issue on how certain events are not following them.”

ALSO READ: Athletics: Caster Semenya lights up the track

Sumariwalla, an Olympian and an IAAF Council member, said that he would also raise the issue at the IAAF’s meeting. “We are going to protest this because even in the CWG, the technical conduct is with the IAAF. We cannot allow different events having different cut-off dates.”

On the other hand, another top athletics official said that the CWG and Asiad organisers may not be violating IAAF rules. “If that is the case, many other countries would have objected to it,” said the official, who did not wish to be named.

“The technical and rules part might be the same, but entries and other things, the IAAF may not have much of a say. Also, the Olympics and Worlds have qualification standards, which make it easy to track the number of qualifiers, while the CWG and Asiad do not have them.”

“And it is not easy to get visas for countries like Japan (the host of the next Olympics in 2020). You have to follow procedure, that is why they have this system,” explained the official.