Coaches of athletes who test positive for doping will also be banned: AFI

AFI makes unprecedented call during executive committee meeting
AFI president Adille Sumariwalla (c) during the just-concluded Federation Cup in Bhubaneswar (Photo | Shamim Qureshy)
AFI president Adille Sumariwalla (c) during the just-concluded Federation Cup in Bhubaneswar (Photo | Shamim Qureshy)

BHOPAL: The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) could be one of the first National Sports Federations to announce that they would ban coaches of athletes who test positive for doping. The AFI president, Adille Sumariwalla, on Friday announced that all athletes must disclose the names of their coaches on the dope collection forms and action could be taken against them. This was decided in the executive committee meeting.

Interestingly, the testing authorities, for example, the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) and the International Testing Agency, are the dope collecting and result management authorities. Since there is no provision to ban coaches unless under extraordinary circumstances, the AFI chief said that they would form their own penalising rules. "We will not tolerate doping and take action against the coaches also," said Sumariwalla.

"We will inform their departments or institutions and request them to penalise them as well. They will not be permitted inside the stadium or training venue. We are also working with the state government and would recommend them to remove them from their posts if possible."

However, the AFI would be working on the period of sanction the coaches need to serve. "We will have to see when they can return," he said. Sumariwalla also revealed that the Indian contingent, those who qualify for the upcoming Paris Olympics, will train in Poland in the first part of July and travel to Paris on July 28. For the race walking team, their results in a Slovakia meet will be considered before finalising the final three from the five who have qualified.

The AFI is also planning to decentralise the coaching camps. The plan had been on for a while. "The athletes will train in the centre of JSW Sports, Reliance or Odisha government centres or Sports Authority of India's National Centre of Excellences (NCOEs)," he said, adding that they will be eligible to field teams at the nationals like Services and Railways in the Open nationals and inter-state.

The AFI is also digitising certificates of merit for all athletes. "There will be no hard copies for those who have won medals,” he said. "This is done to curb certificate fraud and misuse." Moreover, the AFI is planning to have a new logo and branding soon.

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