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The athletics fraternity’s largest online technical officials’ seminar, conducted jointly by the South Asian Athletics Federation and the Athletics Federation of India, drew to a close on Thudsday. Attended by over 900 participants each day, the six-day seminar updated the knowledge of the technical officials in the region’s eight countries.
The unanimous view of the technical experts – Luis Saladie (Spain), Chris Cohen (UK), Pierce O’Callaghan (Ireland), Luca Verrascina (Italy), Dr. Judit Krisztina Horvath (Hungary), Yukio Seki (Japan) and Kwan Kee (Hong Kong) – who helmed the seminar was that SAAF-AFI officials had set the bar high in the world’s track and field community by using technology to enhance knowledge.
Chris Cohen, Competition Director (Athletics) Tokyo 2021, was be the keynote speaker on the final day of Seminar. He cited examples from major championships concerning the International Technical Officials. Sports Authority of India Director-General Sandip Pradhan, guest of honour in the valedictory session, appreciated AFI’s efforts in helping technical officials stay up to date.
The seminar was made possible with meticulous planning and execution. It prompted World Athletics President Lord Sebastian Coe to comment that it was the largest gathering of technical officials that he had ever attended. He was in the forefront of those who praised AFI and SAAF for taking the initiative of engaging technical officials in such a manner.
South Asian Athletics Federation President and AFI Planning and Development Committee Chairman Dr Lalit K Bhanot said the response to the online seminar was heartening. “These voluntary technical officials ensure the success of every athletics meeting by performing their duties passionately. It is our job to help them stay abreast of the rules and regulations,” he said.
“I am thankful to my colleagues in the South Asian athletics fraternity that they encouraged the technical officials from their own nations to take part in the seminar. We recognise the importance of the flawless technical conduct of each of our athletics competitions and are aware that the athletes should not suffer,” he said.
AFI President Adille J Sumariwalla also expressed immense satisfaction that more than 900 Technical Officials in South Asia derived the benefits from the online seminar. “At AFI, we have been in the forefront of the use of technology, even in terms of getting all athletes to register themselves with their biometric data to make our processes easier,” he said.
“The seminar in collaboration with SAAF will reduce travel expenses and helps us face logistic challenges even while reaching larger audiences by embracing technology. We will soon become the first National Sports Federation to hold our special general meeting online. Our office may be shut but we will continue to work for the all-round development of our sport,” he said.