AFI launches talent search programme with 2028, 2032 Olympics in focus

More than 4500 athletes from over 500 districts will be identified for training through the National inter-district junior athletics meet.

AFI is on the look out for exciting, raw talent to groom for the 2028, 2032 Olmypics.   -  K. V. Poornachandra Kumar

The MILO National inter-district junior athletics meet to be held at SV University in Tirupati from Friday will be the platform from which the Athletics Federation of India’s (AFI) plans for the 2028 and 2032 Olympic Games will be launched, says AFI high performance director Volker Herrmann.

“With athletes from over 500 districts taking part here, we will [find] some exciting, raw talent. About 600 boys and girls would be identified for training, most likely at various academies across the country,” Herrmann said.

“Some of these could go on to represent India in the Olympic Games in 2028 and 2032. We are sure we will have athletes competing in a number of events then,” he said, indicating that a scientific approach would be used to assess the talent.

"In addition to their performances, athletes would be assessed on the basis of some tests before they are selected to undergo training," he said in Tirupati on Thursday.

“Besides their physical parameters like height and weight, AFI will test them on the basis of two 20m runs, a long jump and a ball throw,” Herrmann said. “These will give us an indication about the abilities of the under-14 and under-16 athletes.”

The top official said the idea was to get all the track events semifinalists and the field events finalists to undergo these tests.

“Besides, a number of experienced coaches and talent scouts will also nominate some athletes for these tests,” he said. “These athletes are at the right age to be tested for their abilities.”

“Coaches must help athletes do the right things at the right age. I am happy that a number of young Indian coaches are getting themselves ready to do this,” Herrmann said.

The meet will see as many as 30 finals, 10 each for boys and girls in the under-16 age-group and five each for boys and girls in the under-14 group. More than 4500 athletes from nearly 500 districts around the country will compete in the 17th edition of AFI’s flagship talent search programme.