Coronavirus: Fed Cup to go ahead, AFI withdraws invites to foreign athletes

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) on Thursday said the Federation Cup Championships in Patiala will go ahead despite coronavirus concerns.

AFI President Adille Sumariwalla said the national meet will go ahead as it is an Olympic qualifying event but will follow the government's coronavirus guidelines (File Photo).   -  Yifan Ding

Athletics Federation of India (AFI) on Thursday said it will go ahead with the Federation Cup National Senior Championships in Patiala from April 10 to 13 but withdrew its invitation to five countries to participate in the meet in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

AFI President Adille Sumariwalla said the national meet will go ahead as it is an Olympic qualifying event but will follow the government guidelines issued in the wake of rising threat due to the novel coronavirus.

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“For senior Indian athletes who are training to qualify for Tokyo Olympics, all our competitions are lined-up beginning with Indian Grand Prix 1 in Patiala on 20th March, IGP 2 on 25th March in Sangrur, IGP 3 in Delhi on 29th March followed by Fed Cup Seniors in Patiala,” Sumariwalla said in a statement.

“All these competitions will go ahead as planned for Indian athletes and we will follow all the guidelines as directed by MYAS (Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports),” he added.

On the withdrawal of invites sent to athletes of foreign countries to take part in the Federation Cup, he said, “Following the directions of MYAS referring advisory of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in the wake of the outbreak of Coronavirus, AFI withdrew its invitation to athletes from Iran, Iraq, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka for participation in the Federation Cup (Senior) 2020.”

The AFI, however, did not say anything on whether spectators will be allowed in the Fed Cup and other athletics meets despite the advisory of the sports ministry to all national federations to avoid large gatherings in sports events.