With three big international events – Asian Athletics championships, World Athletics Championships and Asian Games – and a host of national events lined up this year, it is a busy schedule for the athletes.
The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has framed the training schedule in such a manner that the athletes will peak for the Asian Games and World Championships. “Our aim is to do well in Asian Games and World Athletics championships. The Asian Athletics meet is also important, but it will be treated more as an avenue for qualification for bigger events. Some of the elite athletes may not take part in Asian championships,‘’ said chief coach P. Radhakrishnan Nair.
This season AFI has been pretty lenient with the athletes with regard to the national camps and the decision to decentralise it has been welcomed by the athletes. “We decided to decentralize the camp this year. The athletes can train at the place of their choice, but they should keep the federation and NADA in the loop. Sreeshankar, Neeraj Chopra, Annu Rani, and Jeswin Aldrin have opted to train with their coaches. I am monitoring their training schedule and am happy with their progress. I am also closely monitoring the progress of the middle distance runners who are training in the US,’’ said the chief coach.
The Chief Coach said that the AFI has made it mandatory for the athletes to compete in the two meets - Federation Cup and Inter-State championships – where their progress would be evaluated. “Federation Cup and Inter-State events will be important for the athletes not because these are qualifying meets but because it presents us with a chance to evaluate their performance and to rectify the flaws. We have decided not to send the sprinters and jumpers to other countries for training. But the relay teams may take part in the Thailand national championships to enable them to qualify for the world meet,’’ said Nair.
“I wish our athletes were mentally strong. They struggle the moment they come out of their comfort zones. Only a few show grit and determination while competing in big events. The AFI is working on this. We will see results soon,’’ said the coach on the failure of athletes to replicate their best performances in the world meets.
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