AFI hurdle for Marathon

 The Athletics Federation of India and the organisers of the Bengaluru Midnight Marathon are on a collision course, with the sport’s governing body denying recognition to the race and the latter questioning the legality of the move.

The AFI, through a release from the Karnataka Amateur Athletics Association, said the organisers of the marathon, Rotary Bangalore IT Corridor (RBITC), had not taken permission from AFI to conduct the race. The KAAA said international/national or State-level athletes taking part will invite punishment from the federation.

“It is in the rules of AFI that marathon organisers in India are required to take permission from AFI for conducting marathon races,” KAAA secretary Chandrasekhar Rai said. “They have not done so, even though international athletes are taking part. We will take action if any national or state athletes take part in the event,” Rai said.

However, Rajiv Unnikrishnan, RBITC President and Chairman of BMM, termed AFI’s demands as unlawful, unjust and absurd and stressed that they were taking a firm stand on the matter. He said the marathon was an activity for the club to raise funds to undertake and implement various charitable projects and they were not required to take permission from the AFI.

In a letter to AFI President Adille J Sumariwalla, copies of which were sent to the Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Unnikrishnan rejected AFI’s demand for fees to accord sanction for the event. He added they were not obliged to take permission from AFI as the event was not being organised under the aegis of AFI or KAAA and no aid from these bodies was sought for to organise the race.

Unnikrishnan pointed out that while AFI was recognised by the International Association of Athletics Federations it is not a statutory authority in respect of athletics competitions in India generally. He added that in case AFI placed any hurdles in the running of the event, they will pursue legal remedies.

Athletes from more than 20 countries are expected to take part in the event, which has Milkha Singh as its brand ambassador.

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