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The return of sports appears to fade into insignificance at the minute with the COVID-19 pandemic triggering trouble and death throughout the world. Nevertheless, the basic fact is that individuals might take a little crumb of convenience from some live sports action. Any sports would be a welcome tonic for many fans.
The AFI met via conference call on Saturday the 2nd of May and hoping to get the domestic season underway in September. However, they did stress that this would only be possible with “government guidance and under expert medical advice.”
“We had planned for competition in two phases but have had to draw up in one, delayed phase,” AFI Planning Committee chairman Lalit Bhanot said. IOA president Narinder Batra, attending the meeting, assured the AFI of support in securing contract extensions for overseas coaches and support staff.
As per the calendar, the season will begin with the Indian Grand Prix 1 on September 12 with the Open Nationals scheduled for September 20-24 and. Meanwhile, the Federation Cup will be held on October 5-9.
The Indian GP 3 would be held on October 20 followed by Interstate Athletics from October 29- November 1.
However, with World Athletics suspending the Olympic qualification period till November 30, the meets in 2020 will act as a preparatory period for the Indian athletes as they will look to get back into shape after the unprecedented break due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Eyes on 2021 for Olympic qualifications
Throwing light on the thought behind designing the calendar, Hermann asserted that while the focus was firmly on the Olympics in 2021, the domestic meets ahead of the qualification period will go a long way in helping the Indian elite tune-up to the challenge.
“Not just international meets, but we have to consider the local situations as well. We hope to conduct national meets from September to November. The rationale behind this (calendar) is to enable our athletes to achieve higher intensity closer to international meets,” High-Performance Director Volker Hermann was quoted as saying by the New Indian Express.
“Immediately after the domestic season, the senior athletes will start preparing for the next season. The athletes will attain a little higher intensity as we start preparing for the first competitions in March (IGPs),” he continued.
“The Olympic-bound athletes would be going to Europe or in the United States for training and compete in international meets. End of June would be the last qualifying event in India — Inter-state athletics.”
Furthermore, the AFI’s priority is the health and safety of athletes, coaches and the wider community.