AFI looks to field Ashwini

AFI looks to field Ashwini

In a stunning development, the Athletics Federation of India is learnt to be considering the inclusion of Ashwini Akkunji in the women’s 4x400M relay squad for the 20th Asian Championships.

Ashwini was banned for two years after testing positive for doping and her suspension period ended only on Wednesday. She has been rushed to Pune and moves are on behind the scenes to push her into the team, despite the fact that she would not have run any race after her ban ended.

According to sources, the AFI is planning to hold trials here to decide the relay team. Many a time in the past, the federation has resorted to such methods to push in their favourites at the last minute, leading to unsavoury situations.

Entries are frozen a day before a major championships but the technical delegate has the powers to alter it, and AFI bosses are learnt to be exploring every option. Even the International Association of Athletics Federations have been consulted to check on Ashwini’s eligibility. AFI secretary C K Valson, however, refused to comment on the issue.

Strangely, the same AFI had ruled some time back that participation in the National meets was a must for selection to the Indian team. Senior coaches felt the federation would be taking another wrong turn by including Ashwini, who has already been given accreditation as an athlete here.

Earlier in the day, Ashwini told Deccan Herald that she was relieved to be back from the ban.

“It is a relief,” said the Udupi girl, who had go through the mandatory four tests before she is reinstated. “I have gone through all four reinstatement tests and am looking forward to returning to the track,” said the 25-year-old.

It was a difficult period for the athlete who suddenly fell from grace.

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