AFI decides against withdrawing Sreeshankar, Irfan from Olympics contingent

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) selection committee on Friday decided against withdrawing long jumper M. Sreeshankar and 20km race-walker K. T. Irfan from the Tokyo Olympics.

AFI president Adille J. Sumariwalla said the selection committee had recommended that there be a national championships ahead of all major events and that athletes would need to perform in that selection meet.   -  GETTY IMAGES FOR IAAF

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) selection committee on Friday decided against withdrawing long jumper M. Sreeshankar and 20km race-walker K. T. Irfan from the Tokyo Olympics.

In an emergency meeting, despite the strong opinion that both athletes should be withdrawn after they underperformed in the trials in Bengaluru, the committee considered that the federation had called for trials only to assess fitness and not form, and arrived at a unanimous decision to not pull the two athletes out of the squad.

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AFI president Adille J. Sumariwalla said the selection committee had recommended that there be a national championships ahead of all major events and that athletes would need to perform in that selection meet. “The selectors were of the view that athletes, especially those who meet qualification standards early, need to compete in the final selection trial and show their performance,” he said in an official release.

Sumariwalla also said the AFI had spoken to the coaches of both athletes about their lacklustre form in the trials. “The coaches have promised that their respective athletes will give their best in Tokyo. Sreeshankar’s father and coach have assured of a good performance from his athlete. If athletes do not perform well in the Olympics, we will take action against them,” he said.

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