AFI asks three athletes to prove fitness

AFI asks three athletes to prove fitness

The Athletics Federation of India has asked three athletes to prove their fitness before they are included in the squad for the London Olympic Games.

The AFI’s selection committee had recommended on Monday that all 14 athletes who attained the qualifying norms should be included in the team. It also added a rider, directing that three of them -- marathoner Ram Singh Yadav, triple jumpers Mayookha Johny and Renjith Maheswary -- should prove their fitness.

“We don’t know at what level they are at the moment. While there are reports of other qualified athletes taking part in competitions, these athletes haven’t taken part in any events in recent times. So the selection committee felt their fitness needs to be assessed,” said AFI secretary C K Valson.
Yadav is training in Ooty while Renjith and Mayookha are in Italy and Germany respectively. Renjith has not taken part in any competition after leaving India last month while Mayookha did compete in an event in Rhede, Germany, winning the gold in long jump on June 8.

Valson said Yadav’s test will be held in Bangalore. “As regards Mayookha and Renjith, we might even consider sending an official to assess their fitness in their training bases. It is only right that we assess their fitness as we don’t want them to go to London and come a cropper.”

Yadav, meanwhile, expressed his angst at the move, as he has been asked to come to Bangalore from his training base to run a 10000M race to prove his fitness.

Yadav achieved the qualifying norm at the Mumbai marathon in January, which according to AFI, was his last competition. But he did run the Bangalore World 10K on May 27, which, obviously, has gone unnoticed by AFI officials.

“I am fit and have no injury. I was not expecting this and my morale is down now. I have been having high altitude training at Ooty. I don’t know why I should prove my fitness now,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.

“I will ask my coach to talk to AFI officials to do the fitness trial run here at Ooty. Going to Bangalore will break my training schedule as there will be three-four days’ break. I am setting time targets for the Olympics and my training will go haywire,” Yadav said.

Coach Mathew said he would request the AFI to hold the trial in Ooty. Otherwise, he would ask the federation to hold it after July 20.

Meanwhile, pole vaulter V S Surekha, Renjith’s wife, said two competitions had been scheduled for her husband but triple jump was dropped from the programme at these events. “He is doing well and is confident of proving his fitness,” she said.

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