Sunita, Reeth hit out at AFI's ban diktat

Sunita, Reeth hit out at AFI's ban diktat

Sunita, winner of the 1992 Asian marathon championships at Bundung in Jakarta, took a dig at AFI’s stance and said the federation had no right to punish them when it was not paying them any money.

“This has been the mindset of AFI even when I was there and there seems to be no end to it,” said Sunita, who has been the co-ordinator of Indian athletes for the past five years. “If an athlete is good, they should groom them and ensure that they are financially secure. Running in India is not like cricket where the Board is paying the players. If the AFI is paying the athletes, then they can ask them to toe their line.”

AFI had denied permission for the IAAF ‘Gold Label’ 10K event, saying the event would hamper the athletes’ performance at the New Delhi Commonwealth Games scheduled in October.

“This is a brilliant event and this will act as a speed test trial for our athletes. For the federation to say the 10K will hamper our preparation is ridiculous. This is a great chance for the Indian athletes to rub shoulders with elite foreign athletes at home and the money is a good incentive. I think they should look at it from that aspect and disregard the ban imposed on them,” said Sunita.

Reeth, former national champion and record holder in long jump and heptathlon, voiced similar opinions.

“Events like this bring people out to run and it helps some of our elite athletes see where they stand against some of the world’s best. I don’t know why AFI is making a fuss about this. The Commonwealth Games is five months away and competing here would have been a good preparation for our athletes,” said Reeth.

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