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