CHENNAI:The Athletics Federation of India has got itself into an avoidable tangle after contrasting statements made by the president and the secretary on the selection of long jumper Ankit Sharma for the Asian Athletics Championship. Though he was gold medallist at the Federation Cup Senior Nationals in Mangaluru recently, which according to the AFI was considered the selection trials for the Championship, his name was surprisingly missing from the list announced on Thursday. The list which was released to the media had K Premkumar from Tamil Nadu as the only long jumper.
Ankit Sharma had recorded 7.99m in Mangaluru while the qualifying mark for Wuhan was 7.76m. Prior to the Federation Cup, Ankit had jumped 8.04m, his personal best, at the National Games in February. Given the form he was in and taken into account the fact that he had qualified for Wuhan, the omission of the Madhya Pradesh lad came as a surprise.
According to AFI president Adille Sumuriwalla, Ankit got the axe as he had moved out of the national camp.
“ He joined the camp and immediately left without giving any reason. We have decided to drop all those athletes who have failed to report to the national camp,” he told Express.
But according to sources Ankit had obtained permission from SAI to train under his personal coach in Thiruvananthapuram. “ He is training there under SAI’s nod. Earlier he was selected to the national camp but he didn’t pursue training there since his coach was not taken along,” a SAI source said.
When asked about this, Sumuriwalla said: “He may have SAI’s permission but the federation isn’t aware of that.” However, its secretary CK Valson said that Ankit’s name should have been included but may be due to some ‘typo error’ the name was missing. “He is there on the list. May be because of some typing error his name was missing,” he said.
Meanwhile, it is reliably learnt that couple of athletes in the list are yet to join the camp while some others have joined just prior to the team selection.
Express had earlier reported the AFI’s decision to act strict against national camp defaulters as well as the athletes’ resentment against it.
The Team: Men: Dharambir Singh (200m), Rajeev Arokya (400m), Jinson Jhonson (800m), G Laxmanan (5000m), Naveen Kumar, Jaiveer Singh (Both 3000m Steeplechase), Sidhant Thingalaya (110m Hurdles; subject to fitness), Durgesh Kumar Pal (400m Hurdles), K Prem Kumar (Long Jump), Inderjeet Singh (Shot Put), Vikas Gowda, Arjun (both Discus Throw), Devender Singh and Neeraj Chopra (Javelin Throw).
Women: Srabani Nanda (100m and 200m), M R Poovamma(400m), Tintu Luka, M Gomathi (both 800m), Lalita Babar(3000m Steeplechase), G Gayathry, T Deepika (100m Hurdles), Anu Raghavan (400m Hurdles), V Surekha (Pole Vault; Subject to Trial), Mayookha Johny (Long Jump), Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (Discus Throw), Suman Devi (Javelin Throw), Annu Rani (Javelin Throw; subject to trial) Purnima Hembram and Liksy Joseph (Both Heptathlon).