Priya Mohan, the country's fastest quarter-miler last year and an under-20 Worlds mixed relay medallist, will be running in the National inter-university women's athletics championships which begin in Bhubaneswar on Monday.
Another under-20 Worlds relay medallist Summy and under-23 National champion long jumper Sandra Babu will be competing in Bhubaneswar, all because they are not in the national camp.
But other promising athletes, like under-20 long jump National champion Ancy Sojan and Inter-State National 200m gold medallist P.D. Anjali will not be able to compete as the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has not allowed national campers to go for the varsities Nationals.
ALSO READ : AFI sets entry standards for Indian Open throws meet
The Kerala Athletics Association has now written to the AFI to permit the State's university stars in the national camp to compete in the varsities meet.
“If the athletes miss the varsities Nationals, they cannot go for the World University Games (China, June) or the Khelo India University Games for which the top eight from the varsities Nationals qualify,” said Sakeer Hussain, the Director of Physical Education at Calicut University to which Ancy and Anjali belong.
“They will also lose the 25% grace marks which they are eligible for if they win the varsities Nationals. And some colleges are close to losing their NAAC accreditation, the performance of these athletes in varsities meet could help them climb up the NAAC charts.”
But the AFI is clear about its stand.
“We are not allowing but they are free to leave (for varsities meet). Choice is theirs,” said AFI president Adille Sumariwalla in a chat with Sportstar on Thursday.
But if they go, it will be tough for them to return to the camp.
“If you choose to leave, then you are not part of our coaching plan. We are working on a plan. Either one is part of that plan or not,” said Sumariwalla.
ALSO READ : AFI to hold trials to select Team India for race walking World Championships
“This year there are four continental and world events (indoor Worlds, Worlds, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games) from July to September. Can an athlete maintain performance for three-four months if preparatory work is not done?
“If they break their training now, how will they last till Asian Games? Does anyone understand periodisation. The AIU (Association of Indian Universities) refuses to talk to us or even acknowledge the president's mails, WhatsApp, mobile calls or office calls.”
But Sakeer spoke about another possible scenario.
“If the universities' national campers don't make it to these majors, they stand to lose everything,” he said.