Remain dope free and say no to drugs: AFI President

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Guwahati, June 26 (IANS) Athletics Federation of India (AFI) President Adille Sumariwalla on Tuesday cautioned athletes training outside the national camps at undisclosed places to remain drug free or else they will be caught.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 58th National Inter State Senior Athletics Championship, which also serves as the selection trial for the Asian Games, Sumariwalla said the athletes must keep a check on their diet and avoid any performance-enhancing drugs.

“A few athletes are training alone on their own at undisclosed places. We are aware of that. I am asking all the athletes to remain dope free and say no to drugs,” he said.

The AFI president said some athletes like Neeraj Chopra and Seema Punia have been exempted from this four-day meet in view of their recent form but they will also have to undergo a fitness trial on August 15 if they are to be selected for the Asiad.

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Sumariwalla also exuded confidence that India’s athletes will win more medals in track and field events in the upcoming Asian Games in Jakarta than the last edition in 2014.

“I am sure our athletes will do better and win more medals this time in Jakarta than the 2014 Asian Games,” Sumariwalla said.

Thanking the Assam government for organising the meet at short notice, Sumariwalla who shared the stage with state Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal at the Sarusajai Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium, said: “I am thankful that Guwahati is hosting this event in a short notice after we decided to shift the venue from Kolkata.”

“Kolkata will be very humid at this point in time and conditions here in Guwahati are just perfect,” he added.

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Sonowal, a former Union Sports Minister, urged the athletes to work hard with dedication in their respective field of sports.

He said that in today’s inter-connected world, excellence in sports gives a distinct identity to a nation and therefore the Indian sportspersons must toil hard and exhibit their best in the playground.

India has been awarded 102 quotas in athletics by the Asian Games organisers but it will have to be seen how many eventually go there.

The IOA has set the criteria of the top six performances at the last Asian Games in individual events while the AFI itself has set strict qualifying guidelines equivalent to a top 4 or top 5 of the 2014 Asiad.

–IANS

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