PATIALA, April 29: The 58th National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championship, a qualifying event for the upcoming Asian Games, has been shifted to Guwahati from Kolkata and the dates have also been advanced by the national federation to avoid a Gold Coast Commonwealth Games like situation.
The capital city of Assam will host the event from June 26 to 29 at the Sarusajai Sports Complex which had hosted the athletics events at the South Asian Games in 2016. The championship was earlier scheduled to be held in Kolkata from July 15 to 18.
The decision to advance the dates came in the backdrop of a controversy surrounding the rejection of late entries of three track and field athletes by the Gold Coast CWG organisers as their names were sent after the closure of final entry.
The deadline for sending the final list of athletes for the CWG was on March 7 but the Federation Cup Senior National Athletics Championships held here ended on March 8 and hence the three athletes picked by the selection committee could not take part in the Games.
�The last date for sending final entries (entry by names) to the Organising Committee for Asian Games is June 30, 2018. And that is the reason we had to advance the national inter-state meet by almost a month. The competition will serve as the final selection trials for the Asian Games 2018,� Athletics Federation of India Deputy Chief Coach Radhakrishnan Nair said in a release.
Participation in this championship has been made mandatory for all athletes to be considered for selection in the Indian team for the Asian Games unless the federation exempts an athlete from participation on his/her request due to specified reasons or as per the advice of an AFI expert.
For those athletes who are not at the national camps and training elsewhere, their final selection in the team will be subject to their repeat performance in a confirmatory trial to be held on August 15. The venue for the confirmatory trial will be intimated to such athletes later.
The issue of the three athletes who could not take part in the CWG got complicated as their accreditation was not done earlier because the AFI did not expect them to qualify for the Games. In order to avoid such a situation, the AFI had recently asked all the athletes who expect to meet Asian Games Qualifying Standards to submit their details by today for accreditation.
The AFI said those athletes who are not part of national camps and are not monitored by the federation coaches will not be considered for selection if they have not submitted their details for accreditation for the Asian Games before the deadline.
�Under no circumstances, an unaccredited athlete will be allowed to attain these trials,� the release said.
Nair also informed that starting next month, Indian athletes at different national camps will depart in groups for training abroad.
�All the athletes including those who went for Commonwealth Games have joined the camps soon after they returned to India. Training will now continue abroad and most teams will be back by the second week of June before the Inter-State Meet,� he said.
The AFI also issued new qualifying standards for the Asian Games, making some relaxations in the guidelines from the ones put out last year.
�We also felt the need to relax the qualifying standards in some of the events due to rescheduling of the competition and it has been done. We are confident that at Jakarta Asian Games, we will win more number of medals as compared to 2014 Incheon Asian Games,� added Nair. � PTI