New Delhi [India], April 13 (ANI): The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) president Adille J Sumariwalla has urged athletes to take advantage of the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The AFI Planning Committee held an online meeting with the national campers, coaches, and support staff on Monday to encourage athletes to maintain their physical fitness and strictly follow their diet charts.
"We are really glad that all of you are fit and safe at the camps in Patiala, Bengaluru and Ooty. With Olympics 2020 being postponed to 2021 and World Championships, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games scheduled to take place in 2022, it will be a tough challenge for you all," Sumariwalla said in a statement.
"We have to use this opportunity of delay to our advantage and you have to be mentally prepared for these challenges from today itself. With the changed scenario and back to back major events planned for the next two years, we will have to adapt to a single phase of the competition period," he added.
The coronavirus pandemic forced the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and now the games will take place from July 23 to August 8 next year while the Paralympics Games will be held from August 24 to September 5, 2021.
Most of the elite athletes including the likes of javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, quarter-miler Hima Das, shot putter Tajinder Toor, race walker, KT Irfan and India's men 4x400m men and women relay team members are currently training indoors in their rooms at various national camps during the lockdown.
Sumariwalla further stated that they will try to resume their domestic competitions from September-October 2020.
"We will try to resume our domestic competitions from September-October 2020 and for next year from March-April 2021. With the postponement of Olympics, we hope that now many young athletes also stand a chance to qualify for the Olympics 2021 while seniors need to focus on their existing fitness to grab this opportunity," he said.
"At this stage, we cannot say anything about any foreign exposure camp later in the year, but for sure, we will plan for international competitions-cum-training camps for 2021. We are monitoring the situation at the camps and when the situation allows, you will be allowed to train outside after the consultation with SAI," Sumariwalla added.
The online meeting was attended by more than 50 athletes and around 30 members of the coaching team along with AFI Planning Committee Chairman Lalit K Bhanot, National Chief Coach Bahadur Singh, Deputy Chief Coach Radhakrishnan Nair and Volker Hermann, AFI High-Performance Director. (ANI)