Stringent AFI code to dissuade athletes from commercial distractions: Report

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Hima Das has been in news constantly ever since her Asian Games heroics in Jakarta. Albeit, more for honouring her commercial commitments – for shoots, endorsements and product launch events.

The Athletics Federation of India wants Hima and other Jakarta and Palembang Asian Games medal winners back on track now. With no distractions and no relaxations. Besides a stringent code of conduct for training, the AFI has also charted out overseas training schedule for the key athletes.

AFI’s roadmap will have no relaxation for the ‘2020 Olympics hopefuls’ to leave the ongoing national camp, states a Hindustan Times report.

The stringent code has been put in place to govern the relay team’s preparation for the two-day World Relays competition in Yokohama, Japan, next year. The top 10 teams at the May 11 and 12 event will directly qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The ‘Olympic hopefuls’ at the National camp, underway at Patiala from  October 10, will not be permitted to escape for their brand endorsement commitments. “Celebrations were a major distraction post the Jakarta Asian Games and players will not get any leave,” Radhakrishnan Nair, who is overseeing the national camp in Patiala, has reportedly told the paper.

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One of India’s most promising athletes Hima Das, World U-20 champion in 400m, has in particular been told to cut down on excessive travelling for endorsements. Hima has been busy endorsing products ever since her triple medal haul at the Asian Games.

The AFI, in its bid to dissuade players from leaving the camp, has also decided to shift training base outside India. The 4x400m men’s and women’s relay squad will train in Turkey for three months between December and February.

Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, after visa issues for his training in Australia, will be going to South Africa for three months. Triple jumper Arpinder Singh will train in the US, while shot putter Tejinderpal Singh Toor will train in New Zealand during the next season.

The athletes return in February for Federation Cup from March 15 to 18. The Federation Cup will also serve as the qualifying competition for the Asian Championships. The relay squad thereafter will train in Oman for the Asian Championships, to be held in Doha in April. The Doha event will also serve as the qualifiers for the World Championships in September.

The relay team will then attend a pre-training camp in Japan for the World Relays. “Instead of coming back home, we have planned a 15-20 days camp in Japan,” said Nair.

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