Athletics Federation of India mulling weekend athletics league

AFI secretary CK Valson informed that a presentation was made in this regard at the general body meeting in Varanasi recently.

Written by Nihal Koshie | New Delhi | Updated: April 15, 2015 10:33 am

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has received a proposal for a franchise-based league that promises to bring global track-and-field stars to the country. The month-long event will take place over weekends with 8 teams consisting of around 35 athletes competing in 14 disciplines. Attempting the IPL-isation of athletics are the promoters of the World Kabaddi League.

AFI secretary CK Valson informed that a presentation was made in this regard at the general body meeting in Varanasi recently.

“We need to know how much money needs to be pumped in and who will invest. As the league proposes to have international stars and coaches, their availability will be key. It is still a work in progress,” he said.

Raman Raheja, the CEO of the World Kabbadi League, hinted who the possible investors could be.

“Those who have promoted kabbadi are now also keen on athletics. A new company will be formed to run the league,” he said.

A committee consisting of India’s leading athletes Anju Bobby George and PT Usha, along with AFI president Adille Sumariwala, will be looking at the viability of the project.

The proposed date for the competitions is October this year and in case that doesn’t work out the event can take place after the Rio Olympic Games next year.

Finding a window will be the league’s biggest challenge. Given that the World Championship is in August and the Olympic Games within 12 months, luring the best of international athletes wouldn’t be easy.

Grand Prix postponed 

The AFI has postponed the four-leg Indian Grand Prix series, which was to kick-start at Patiala on Wednesday. As a result, the athletics season will begin with the Federation Cup, to be held in Mangalore from May 1-4. The Federation Cup is expected to see the country’s top athletes in action as it will serve as the selection trial for the Asian Athletics Championships to be held in Wuhan in June.

“When the events calendar was first published, there was no clarity on the Asian Grand Prix Series, but since then Thailand has agreed to be hosts of the event, which will be held between June 22-24. As the Asian GP is being held, we decided to postpone the Indian GP Series. We may conduct it on another suitable date later in the year if we feel our athletes need to participate in more competitions,” AFI secretary Valson said.

Other Highlights

* Departmental teams, including Railways, Services, ONGC, Food Corporation of India and police to host at least one national championship every three years.

* State associations to set-up selection committees and appoint a chairman of the technical committee to ensure athletes are selected on merit for national competitions.

* AFI to conduct national school and university championships in order to ensure that tighter-doping control mechanisms are in place at these meets.

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