The newly-elected president of the Asian Athletics Association (AAA) promised profound changes in the functioning of the association, benefitting athletes right from the grassroots level.

The 56-year-old Qatari, who has been a vice-president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) since 2006, spoke to The Hindu soon after his election. He said: “After 40 years of existence, Asian athletics is facing the biggest challenge and is standing in front of a historical cross-road aiming to open a new chapter to the future.

“A full scope of opportunities is there and a strategic plan is essential to ensure that Asia achieves its vast potential in the sport. Therefore, my initial focus would be to be work out a detailed plan on the development of the sport, starting from the grassroots and on the creation of a good athletics product to attract broadcasters and sponsors.”

Pointing out that almost all the major partners of IAAF were from Asia, Al-Hamad said it was sad that none of them were interested in the promotion of the sport in their own backyard.

“A change in this area is essential for the development of athletics in Asia as the continent is a key player in the economic front besides being home to 60 per cent of the world population.” — Special Correspondent

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