New Delhi, Sep 29 (IANS): To broaden the training base across the country, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has decided to decentralise national coaching camps from next calendar year, AFI president Adille Sumariwalla said. However, national camps in preparation for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games in select events will continue for the elite athletes.
Instead of having national coaching camps in three main cities---Bengaluru, Patiala and Thiruvananthapuram—the AFI in future will conduct as many as 20 camps across the country.
“The major decision to decentralize national camps was taken during AFI’s Special General Meeting held virtually on Thursday,” Sumariwalla added. “More pockets of coaching camps across the country will strengthen the infrastructure and broaden the training base.”
According to Sumariwalla, who is one of the vice presidents of the World Athletics, modalities to supervise the coaching camps across the country will be chalked out soon.
“The AFI will constitute a panel that will prepare a draft to oversee the functioning of the camps spread across the nation,” the AFI president said.
In preparation for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, the AFI will continue to have national camps for elite athletes in seven disciplines mainly javelin (men and women), steeplechase (men and women), jumps (long and triple), throws (men shot put), race walking (both men and women) and 4x400m relay (men and women).
"We have a bright chance of podium in selected disciplines at the Olympic Games. Hence, we don't want to break the rhythm of the core group of athletes in the above seven discipline," he added
Generally, over 100 athletes are shortlisted for the national coaching camps in preparation for major competitions, including Asian Games. However, post decentralization the AFI president believes the number of the athletes selected for the camps will be over 400.
“For each training center the AFI might select around 50 athletes,” he added.
The virtual SGM meeting was attended by over 60 officials, including members of the state units. Former international athletes, including Olympian and world bronze medalist, Anju Bobby George, also attended the meeting.
According to Sumariwalla, majority of those attending virtual meetings were of the view that national coaching camps should be conducted at several venues across the country.