India’s Olympic qualifying events in athletics now in 2021

The National Throws Open Championships will be the only significant event to be held this year with the rest of the domestic meets pushed to 2021.

By Naveen Peter

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has decided to defer the majority of the domestic season to 2021.

In a media statement, the governing body for the sport in India said that the changes were made keeping in mind the health and safety of the athletes.

“The competition calendar was re-drawn keeping in mind the rise in the COVID-19 cases across the country. Most of the competitions will be held towards the end of this year and the beginning of the next year,” president Adille J Sumariwalla said.

Scheduled to begin on September 12, the domestic season was pushed further given the rising cases of COVID-19 and the various lockdown restrictions which would have made it difficult for the athletes to reach the competition venues.

As per the latest schedule, the season will begin with the National Throws Open Championships on October 26-27 at the National Institute of Sports (NIS), Patiala followed by a handful of zonal meets in November. 

The National Youth (U-18) Championships, which will serve as a qualification meet for the 2021 Asian Youth (U-18) Championships, is scheduled for December 11-13 in Vijayawada. The Asian meet is scheduled for March 11-14 in Kuwait.

The new year will begin with the Junior Federation Cup in Bhopal from January 15-17 with a number of Olympic qualifying events to follow. 

The first Indian Grand Prix will be held on February 12 in Thiruvananthapuram with the second and the third GP events scheduled for February 19 and 27 at the same venue.

Indian elites, including sprinter Dutee Chand, will eye the domestic meets to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics

The Indian athletics caravan will then head to NIS, Patiala for the season’s Federation Cup on March 10-14 while the National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships will be held in Bengaluru from June 25-29, the last date of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics.

With international travel restricted and athletes barely being able to get back to their training routines, the AFI had earlier decided against sending the elite bunch for any global events, including the Diamond League meetings.