New Delhi: The Athletics Federation of India is unlikely to impose sanctions on over-age athletes caught after failing bone density tests at the 16th National Youth Athletics Championships in Raipur.
After stating that the AFI would prevent these athletes from competing in junior meets, the national athletics federation’s general secretary CK Valson said, “There is nothing stopping them from participating with the seniors. We have taken into consideration that many of these athletes came to us voluntarily after hearing of the tests.”
Among the 41 identified as overage by AFI’s medical commission at the Raipur junior meet was Khelo India gold medallist Nisar Ahmed. The sprinter also participated in the second leg of the Indian Grand Prix in New Delhi, winning the 200 metres with a time of 22.05 seconds.
The threat of litigation may be behind AFI’s decision to be lenient on the athletes who they deemed over-age, with one official suggesting that the bone density test is not recognised as an accurate barometer of chronological age.
A former office bearer, who did not wish to be named, was more critical of this approach. “The athletes should be caught once they start competing. Some of them have won medals at the junior level internationally, so there is very little point in catching them now. The coaches always know if their athlete is over-age, and they too must be sanctioned.”
Neeraj exempt from Federation Cup
The AFI has also decided to exempt Commonwealth and Asian Games gold medallist javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra from the 2019 Federation Cup to be held in Patiala from March 15-18 in order to concentrate on his IAAF Diamond League schedule, Valson said.
The secretary general also confirmed that high jumper Tejaswin Shankar has also asked for an exemption from Federation Cup due to his upcoming examinations. “We have forwarded his request to the selection committee. I will however say that the fact that he has been competing in the NCAA and that he is dope tested at regular intervals augurs well for his case,” he added.
The AFI had made it mandatory last year for athletes wishing to compete at the Asian Athletics Championships, to participate at the Federation Cup in Patiala.