AFI to suspend athletes who skip camps

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New Delhi, Feb 9: The Athletic Federation of India (AFI) has made it mandatory for athletes to attend all coaching camps and domestic competitions organised by the federation failing which they could face suspension of upto one year.

Speaking to mediapersons here today during the Annual General Body Meeting of the AFI, Secretary Lalit Bhanot said, ''athletes who skip national camps and domestic competitions will be suspended for upto one year.'' Asked about India's preparation for the Beijing Olympics he said, '' we have sent our athletes for training to the United States and Oman. We have also increased the number of foreign coaches.'' About India's medal hopes for Beijing, he said, ''apart from triple jump we are optimistic about women's shot put and women's 4x400 metres.'' Bhanot also informed that the federation has decided to revamp its athletics calendar.

'' The AFI has decided to revamp its athletics calendar and make it more commercial and attractive to sponsors,'' he said.

''The federation has formed a committee for this purpose which will submit its report within three months,'' he added.''The new calendar would be implemented by 2009.'' During the meeting, Bhanot and Umrao Singh was unanimously elected as Secretary and President respectively for the period 2008-2012.

''The athletics calendar for this year has been approved and the AFI will conduct three international meets during the year,'' Bhanot informed, adding, ''the Senior South Asian Championships will be held at Kochi, the Junior South Asian Championships will be at Pune while Bhopal will host the Asian All Star Athletics meet.'' Expressing optimism about the standard of athletics in India he said, ''the performance of our athletics has been steadily improving. Look at how many used to qualify for the Olympics earlier and how many are qualifying now. We were second in the Asian Championships next only to China. So, our performance is not bad, it is improving. But it needs to be improved further.''

UNI

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