Principal Correspondent

KOCHI: With the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games coming up this year, Kerala has advanced its annual athletics calendar this season.

“All the meets will start earlier this time; athletes will have to plan their training schedule accordingly,” said M. Velayudhan Kutty, the Secretary of the Kerala State Athletics Association (KSAA), on Thursday evening. “This year, we will complete 90 per cent of our State championships before September. Normally, it runs till November.”

National Open in May

Kerala will host the 50th National Open in Kochi from May 15 to 18 but the first of the State meets will only begin on July 23 with the M.K. Joseph memorial State inter-club championship here.

The KSAA also seems to have made a cunning move in its annual calendar to suit the Athletics Federation of India's (AFI) stipulation that the State championship should be completed before July 30.

The AFI had suspended Kerala for two months at its AGM in Haryana on February 14 for not holding its district and State championships as per the national body's calendar.

A way out

But Kerala appears to have found a way out of the problem.

“We will now project the State inter-club meet as our State championship, to suit the AFI's guidelines,” said Mr. Velayudhan Kutty. “Anyway, the event has all the age-groups which we normally conduct. This also means that we will not go back on our programme which has taken our athletes to the forefront of Indian athletics, bringing us many titles.”

The 54th State senior championship has been allotted to Thiruvananthapuram and will be held on August 28 and 29.

But there is a problem here.

“Renovation work for the National Games has just begun at the University Stadium (in the Capital), so we may not be able to hold the State championship in Thiruvananthapuram,” said Mr. Velayudhan Kutty.

“Also, the installation work for the hammer and discus cage has not begun yet, there is some drilling work involved for this and it takes time. We may have to conduct the State senior event in Kochi.”

Kannur will host the junior State championship in November while the sub-junior and mini meets will be held in Pathanamthitta in October.

The athletics calendar: Trials for junior and senior Federation Cup and Open National to pick the State team (April 11-12, Kochi).

50th National Open (May 15-18, Kochi).

8th M.K. Joseph memorial State inter-club championship (July 23-25, Kochi).

54th State senior championship (Aug 28-29, Thiruvananthapuram).

8th State sub-junior and 34th State mini championships (Oct. 23-24, Pathanamthitta).

54th State junior championship (Nov. 5-7, Kannur).

15th State cross country (Dec. 18, Kozhikode).

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