Athletics

Athletics Federation of India raises the bar for men

Sable effect: Avinash was on a national record-breaking spree last year.

Sable effect: Avinash was on a national record-breaking spree last year.  

Federation explains that it has not gone soft on women

A close study of the Athletics Federation of India's entry standards for this year's National championships throws up an interesting picture. The federation has raised the bar in five men’s events. It has pushed up the standard in just the discus throw for women.

AFI secretary C.K. Valson, however, explained that the national body had not gone out of its way to make life easier for women.

“No... the women’s standards are already high. So, we did not touch it,” Valson told The Hindu on Monday.

Low standards

“In the men’s section, our standards were low earlier, so we wanted to raise them to get the best. We want people to challenge it.”

Incidentally, the qualification in the men's 3000m steeple chase has been made tougher by 20 seconds — from 9:50s to 9:30s — while it has been raised to 68m (increase of three metres) in men's javelin.

Was it the Avinash Sable and Neeraj Chopra effect? Sable was on a national record-breaking spree last year and had entered the Doha World championships final and made the cut for this year's Tokyo Olympics.

The 2018 Commonwealth and Asian Games javelin champion Chopra inspired many in the country to go past 80m.

“Yes, you can say it’s a sort of Sable effect in steeple chase. Though his standard is very high when compared to the others, the fact that we have raised it means more people are doing better than before,” said Valson.

Based on Olympic mark

He explained that the entry standards were fixed based on the Olympic standards.

“Suppose we have the Olympic standard as 9.9s (in the men's 100m), if we don't raise the entry standard to 11s for our nationals, it won't be okay. That is the concept we normally follow,” he said.

The men’s 200, 400 and 800m are the other events where the qualification marks have been raised but the federation has surprisingly lowered the entry levels in the men’s shot put (from 15.50m to 15m) and discus (from 45.50m to 45).

“The reason is, we should have at least 18 to 20 athletes doing that event. If you notice, many would not have reached 15.50m in national competitions last year. We fix a standard so that we can have at least 15 athletes; otherwise I will be running a competition with just 10 people,” explained Valson, who is also the Competitions Director for Asian athletics.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 3:38:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/athletics/athletics-federation-of-india-raises-the-bar-for-men/article30975183.ece

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