AFI to discontinue national camps post Paris Olympics


The Athletics Federation of India has decided to stop hosting national camps after the 2024 Paris Olympics. This move came at the federation’s Annual General Body Meeting held in Amritsar.

So far, most of India’s top athletes, including Avinash Sable, Jinson Johnson, Dutee Chand, M.R Poovama, and more have regularly trained under the AFI at various centers like the NIS Patiala, SAI Centre Bengaluru, and LNCPE Thiruvananthapuram.

“We have decided to wind up national senior training camps after Paris (next year). We have communicated this to the Sports Ministry, which has appreciated our move,” AFI president Adille Sumariwalla said on the last day of the meeting.

According to Sumariwalla, the main intent behind this is to decentralize camps, providing athletes the opportunity to train closer to home. This move should also allow for a more widespread use of resources, according to the president.

“We have 5-10 SAI centers but we can have 200 such centers (for training with public and private entities’ participation). The athletes will have more access, they can stay at their homes and not at camps for training.”

AFI Planning Commission chairman Lalit Bhanot went on to add that this development will hopefully result in a more diversified talent pool for athletics in India.

“If the training camps are spread across the country, they will be accessible to a lot more athletes. The pool of elite athletes will be more and the competition will be tougher. We hope this will produce more world-beaters,” he said.

Meanwhile, despite the discontinuation of national camps, the Athletics Federation of India will continue to keep track of the top performers through a team of coaches.

AFI to continue training relay teams and juniors

While national camps for most athletes will end after the Olympics, the AFI will continue to train the men’s 4x400m, women’s 4x400m, and mixed 4x400m relay teams, given the need for coordination between these players.

“The three relay teams will have to be under the direct supervision of AFI as the relay members cannot train separately as they need coordination. We will also continue to hold competitions,” Lalit Bhanot said.

The federation will also continue to train junior athletes at camps hosted across various NCOEs (National Centres of Excellence).

Another person who has spoken in support of ending the national camps is Anju Bobby George. The Arjuna Awardee said that this move will help athletes focus on their studies as well as their sport while giving coaches a chance to stay closer to their families.

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