PATIALA: The Indian 4x400m relay teams are likely to shift their pre-competition training venue from Spala in Poland to Almaty in Kazakhstan in the run-up to the Jakarta Asian Games. A squad of 37 athletes had trained at Spala before the Rio Olympics in 2016 and was the preferred training destination for the current foreign coach Galina Bukharina, but sources revealed to Express that the venue will be changed after some of the athletes who had trained there before Rio complained of non-availability of spicy food. Taking into consideration of the reservations of some of the leading athletes, a move to Almaty is in the pipeline.
The foreign training is expected to start in the second week of May and will run up to two months during which the relay teams will participate in two competitions — Kosanov Memorial in Almaty and International Competition T. Kolpakova at Kyrgyzstan city Bishkek.“The foreign coach preferred to train at Spala because the facilities there are excellent. Also, the relay team can partake in competitions in European cities as those are accessible from
Poland. However, some of the athletes said their dietary plans might go for a toss as Indian food won’t be available there. So, Poland plan is almost shelved and we are focussing on Almaty,” said an AFI official.
One of the athletes who trained in Spala before said the conditions were good, but the food was the only issue. “The training facilities are good. Climate is also fine. Food is a problem. They don’t use spices for cooking and instead roast and boil the meat, we find it tough to eat,” the athlete said. Galina said her only concern was athletes. “I had Poland as my first choice, but forget about me. The athletes were not happy with the food served there last time. My concern is whether they will be happy over there and I feel they won’t be. So Poland is off the list,” she said.
Being born in Russia, Galina thought she knows conditions in Almaty better and that would be helpful during training. “In Almaty, they still speak Russian. So I can coordinate with them better,” she said. She also added that since flying time from Delhi to Almaty is three hours and from Almaty to Bishkek less than an hour, it’s advantageous to train in Central Asia. Even if the Indian athletes had tried Spala, it would have been tough for them to get admission as the facility has been in demand among Asian athletes. As per reports, Qatar athletes had already booked half of the Spala camp facility for three months.
Dharun sets record
Patiala: Ayyasamy Dharun had to stay away from training for more than a year after Rio due to a stress fracture in his sheen. It was only in November that doctors gave him permission to plant his feet on the ground. On Thursday evening, he glided on the track to set a national record of 49.45s in the 400m hurdles. The run also earned him a ticket for Commonwealth Games.