Don’t punish our athletes for federation’s mistake: KAA

Don’t punish our athletes for federation’s mistake: KAA

Photo for representation.

Following Athletics Federation of India’s move to suspend Karnataka Athletics Association, the State body has requested the parent association not to punish athletes for what is essentially KAA’s mistake.

AFI's action comes in the wake of KAA's refusal to host the Open Nationals due to poor condition of the synthetic track at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium.   

“It is within the rules that in case of such suspensions, the athletes from that particular State can get permission to participate under AFI’s banner,” A Rajavelu, KAA’s secretary, told DH on Sunday. “Because of our federation’s mistake, we don’t want athletes to suffer. I spoke to CK Valson, the AFI Secretary, regarding this. He has promised me that he would get back to me at the earliest,” Rajavelu said. 

An irked AFI, however, wants to use the predicament of scores of athletes to corner KAA. Calling KAA an "irresponsible" association, AFI president Adille Sumariwalla said the State body had gone back on its words. “We have suspended Karnataka’s association because at the last minute they pulled out of the Nationals which they promised (to host) a year ago. This was in the calendar which we did in the previous year. They asked for the championship, bid for it and took it. We cannot let all the athletes suffer because there are such irresponsible state associations.”

In another development, State athletes were reportedly seeking No Objection Certificate to represent other states. Rajvelu, however, clarified that NoCs were not required.     

“Many athletes from the team for Open Nationals are seeking entries from different States after they learnt about the suspension. There is no system of unique identification numbers in place as yet. It’s only in the pipeline. So the athletes don’t require NoC from our association and it’s easy for them to participate from other States,” Rajavelu said.

With the last date for entries already expired, it remains to be seen how the athletes can manage to get in.

Rajavelu also rubbished talks that the State athletes will not be allowed at the upcoming Junior Nationals as well. “The junior athletes aren’t going to be affected. The suspension is only for the Open Nationals,” he said. 

The AFI was upset with the KAA for its "last-minute" pull-out. Rajavelu said the KAA was in constant communication with the national body. “In November, we had written to KAA, requesting for postponing the meet. Again, last month, we told the AFI that we can’t host the event because of the poor quality the track. But the AFI didn’t want to change the scheduled date. Anyway, it’s our mistake,” he said.

The tender for relaying of the synthetic track is under government’s evaluation, Rajavelu said. “After the technical bid was opened, we moved to the rate bid and one tender was selected. But now we hear that the rate has gone up by nine percent. So evaluation is pending. But it should be approved and the work on the track should start soon,” he said. 

Meanwhile, senior coaches of the State were upset with the development. “It’s not fair for the AFI to deny the athletes their chance to participate,” said a senior coach. “But we have to blame the KAA for the mess. If the Kanteerava stadium was not fit, they should have looked at other options. In 1995, Karnataka held the Inter-State meet at the Sports Authority of India (SAI), South Centre. They could have considered the facility at the DYES Vidyanagar. Even the sports complex at Mysuru could have been made ready for the event,” he rued.

(With inputs from Sandeep Menon)