AFI may tighten selection procedure

The AFI is seriously contemplating selecting only one athlete henceforth for world events. "We will pick the best even if more than one makes the grade for global events," says the AFI secretary, C. K. Valson.

Lalita Babar of India competes in the women's 3000m steeplechase at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Babar was the only Indian to enter the final of an athletics event in Rio.   -  Getty Images

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) secretary, C. K. Valson, termed India’s display in athletics at the Rio Olympics as “unsatisfactory.” Speaking to Sportstar on Wednesday, after arriving in Chennai from Rio, he said, “We did not get what we expected.”

According to Valson, the AFI is seriously contemplating selecting only one athlete henceforth for world events. “We will pick the best even if more than one makes the grade for global events,” he said.

Excerpts:

Question: What is AFI’s assessment of India’s performance in athletics at Rio 2016?

 

Answer: We never said we will win medals. All we said was that, we will reach the final in some of the disciplines. Lalita Babar did well; she was the lone bright spot.

What do you think of the performances of Renjith Maheshwary (triple jump) and Ankit Sharma (long jump)? What they did at the Games was well below the marks they achieved during qualifications…

What can we do? Neither the National Anti-Doping Agency nor the AFI, or even the Sports Ministry, could find anything amiss. We never expected this sort of display from Renjith and Ankit. If both had performed as well as they did in qualification (for the Rio Olympics) they would have ended up with medals. Unfortunately it was not so.

What happens to the foreign coaches, including the controversial Ukranian coach Yuri Ogorodnik?

This is not a decision that the AFI alone can make. It has to be a collective decision by the AFI, the Sports Authority of India and the Sports Ministry. But we will come up with a decision soon. Hopefully by the end of this month, we will be able to tell you something.

Discus thrower Vikas Gowda promised much, but failed miserably…

He was carrying a knee injury and he kept us in the dark.

O. P. Jaisha has accused the AFI of not providing water and refreshments during the women’s marathon…

It’s the responsibility of the organisers, not of the AFI. And it is there in the IAAF rules. The AFI will provide special refreshments only if the athlete asks for them. In fact, for the men’s marathon, we had kept special drinks at different counters. In fact, Nikolai Snesarav (India’s Belarusian coach) said that Jaisha doesn’t need any special drink, as she had not availed of any special drink in any of the International meets in India. That’s why the AFI didn’t put up any special drinks counters during the marathon in Rio.