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Athletics Federation of India took a huge step towards improving the technical conduct of track and field sport at the grassroots level by organising a certification course for more than 2100 District Technical Officials. AFI aims to have 10000 such district technical officials across the country in the next five years.
Over the next fortnight, 2164 candidates will undergo the district technical officials' course. Split into many groups to ensure that there is no loss of quality in the instruction, they will be trained in the rules and regulations that govern all athletics competition before appearing for an examination on the final day of their course.
AFI President Adille J. Sumariwalla said the course has its roots in National Inter-District Junior Athletics Meet. "We want all the 5000 athletes who participate in NIDJAM to have experienced competing in a well-conducted meet at the district level. We have imparted coach education at the grassroots level, and it was imperative that we also enhance the conduct of a meet," he said.
"We want at least 30 qualified officials in each district so that their meets are conducted efficiently and effectively," he said. "It will ensure that even the district meets offer the athletes fair competition. Besides, this will also allow district associations to be self-reliant and not need to engage technical officials from other parts of a State."
Sports Authority of India Director-General Sandip Pradhan, who inaugurated the certification course, said it was important for athletes at the entry level to have the confidence that they would be fairly judged by qualified officials. "I applaud the step taken by the Athletics Federation of India in ensuring quality education for the officials in all districts in the country," he said.
AFI also announced that it will soon take the coach education programme even deeper by offering a pre-Level 1 certification course for coaches. It will help in ensuring scientific training of the young, mindful of early specialisation and over-training.