Sumariwalla: Funding issues keeping India from hosting IAAF events

The Athletics Federation of India president says the international governing body is willing to award India the hosting rights for ‘any international meet’.

Asian countries like China, Japan and Qatar frequently host major international meets but India appears to be caught in a dilemma.   -  AP (Representational Image)

The IAAF, the international governing body for athletics, is keen to have India host many international events but funds are a hindrance, Athletics Federation of India president Adille Sumariwalla has said.

“Sebastian Coe (the IAAF president) has given us a blanket permit to host any international meet. The IAAF has said whatever international meet you want, you ask, we will allot it to you,” Sumariwalla told Sportstar on Wednesday. “And I sit in the IAAF council and the council allots events. We can bid for any meet we want and we have a good chance of getting it. But where is the money going to come from?”

Asian countries like China, Japan and Qatar frequently host major international meets but India appears to be caught in a dilemma. “In China, the government is doing everything. The Diamond League (a virtual world series event) in Shanghai will cost you something like Rs. 100 crore,” said Sumariwalla.

“I would rather say, please give Rs. 10 crore extra for our athletes’ training and to bring more coaches. That Rs. 100 crore will be more than our sport’s budget for the year. We are working within a budget of some Rs. 20 to 30 crore though I don’t know the exact figure.”

But what about smaller meets, like the Permit meet? “Even if you host the Permit meet, it will cost money if you want top athletes,” said the IAAF council member. “There are two costs; one is, you have to pay the IAAF its fee to have the meet and if you want to have any top athlete, you will have to pay them individually. It could be as low as USD 5000 and as high as USD 20,000.”