AFI rejects Merlin's record

The Athletics Federation of India on Sunday decided not to ratify Merlin Joseph’s 100M national record set last year in Ranchi.


Merlin had clocked 11.35 seconds in the semifinals of the Open Nationals last year -- going under Rachita Mistry’s mark of 11.38 seconds -- but that time had been questioned by many. AFI had set up a panel to look into the issue.


The decision was taken at AFI’s Annual General Body Meeting that concluded here. The meeting also decided to ratify all the national records set during the 2012-2013 period.

AFI had left a clutch of records hanging, unable to ratify them due to various issues. But all those have been swept under the carpet, with approval arriving on Sunday.
The records that received the stamp of approval include the long jump mark of 8.09 set by Kumarvel Premkumar last year in New Delhi. Lack of prompt dope testing had put a question mark over the effort.

Also getting approval was O P Singh’s shot put record of 20.69 metres achieved in a competition in Szombathely, Hungary, where he was the only athlete competing in the senior section.

In other decisions, AFI named Dronacharya awardee J S Bhatia as the chief coach of the Indian junior athletics team. Wazir Singh has been named chief coach of the youth team.

Bhatia, who was in charge of the distance runners, was sidelined from the senior national camp earlier this month after the arrival of Belarus coach Nikolai Snesarev.

Bhatia had left the camp in a huff, upset over the unfair treatment meted out to him. In appreciation of their effort in promoting athletics, Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) has been awarded full membership in the AFI.

Meanwhile, AFI President Adille Sumariwalla said plans were afoot to host an international meet in India. “The AFI is planning to bring a world-class event and we are already in touch with our counterparts in other countries and hopeful that they will send their top athletes to participate,” he said.

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