India's National Throws Championships called off

The AFI has decided to postpone the 2020 season due to its concern over the risk of exposure of athletes to COVID-19.

By Naveen Peter ·

The domestic athletics season in India, which was scheduled to begin on October 26 with the inaugural National Throws Championships, has been postponed yet again due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We consulted the chief coach, high-performance director and other coaches and they expressed their concern on the risk of exposure of athletes to COVID-19,” Athletics Association of India (AFI) president Adille J Sumariwalla said.

“After consultation with all, we have decided to postpone the throws competition until further notice. We feel the conditions are still not conducive to hold a competition due to COVID-19 pandemic situation,” he said.

“Since it was an open competition, there was a risk for athletes travelling from outside. As I have repeatedly said earlier that for us the well-being of our athletes is of utmost importance and competitions will be held only when the situation is conducive,” Sumariwalla added.

Neeraj Chopra one of those to miss out

The National Throws Championships, the only senior-level event for the year, was to kick-start the domestic season in Patiala next week.

The two-day championship included field events like shot put, discus throw, hammer throw and javelin throw. 

With most of the national campers, including Tokyo Olympics-bound javelin throwers Neeraj Chopra and Shivpal Singh, training at the National Institute of Sports (NIS), Patiala, the event would have been a good opportunity for them to get their competitive juices flowing.

With the championship being pushed to a further date, athletics in India will be restricted to a few zonal and age-group events for the year.

The biggest draw of the year will be the National Youth (U-18) Championships, which will serve as a qualification meet for the 2021 Asian Youth (U-18) Championships.

The national event is slated for December 11-13 in Vijayawada while the Asian meet is scheduled for March 11-14 in Kuwait.

Meanwhile, the Olympic qualifying events will be held in 2021. Indian athletes will have a handful of Grand Prix and the Federation Cup and the Inter-State Championships to try and make the cut for the Tokyo Olympics.