Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Asian Athletics Association (AAA) on Thursday initiated moves to sort out the Olympic relay qualification status of the recent Asian Grand Prix meets with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

Following a clarification from the IAAF on Wednesday that the Asian GP meets were not being counted as qualifying meets since meet organisers had not notified the IAAF within the stipulated period, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) got into action to pursue the case through the AAA.

The Indian women’s 4x400m relay team, deemed to have qualified with an average timing of 3:30.42 (not 3:30.84 as reported earlier), will be out of the top-16 slot if the IAAF does not reverse its decision to exclude the Asian GP series.

The problem arose since the IAAF apparently did not receive a communication within a stipulated period from the AAA regarding the inclusion of Olympic qualifying relay events in meets in Bangkok, Korat and Hanoi.

In 2007, the IAAF had listed each leg of the Asian Grand Prix series as a qualifying meet while this time it did not. Area Permit meets (the categorisation given to Asian GP meets) were expected to intimate the IAAF in advance about inclusion of Olympic qualification relays.

The AAA Secretary, Maurice Nicholas, when contacted in Singapore, said that he was trying to sort out the issue. “It is because of some misunderstanding,” he said.

AFI sources said that the IAAF had already assured the AAA that things would be settled amicably soon and India and other Asian teams included in the ‘qualified list’.

Apart from India, the other teams that could be seriously affected if the IAAF sticks to its stand are the Chinese men’s 4x100m and women’s 4x400m teams, both of which could be out of the top-16 list. Thailand, which now occupies the 14th place in the men’s 4x100m relay, can further consolidate its position with an improved average timing if its 38.94 at Korat is taken into consideration.

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