AFI chief warns athletes, coaches
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Mumbai

The re-elected Athletic Federation of India sends a stern warning for athletes and coaches against using banned drugs, with COVID-19 excuses.

Age frauding, food supplements and drugs, were the three important subjects, the re-instated chief of the AFI, Adil Sumariwalla stressed while addressing the Annual General Body meeting soon after the election.

“If an individual thinks of their individual performance by taking banned drugs, they forget it the entire country which will face the consequences,” said Sumariwalla, who has been asked to continue in office for yet another term.

Talking to Free Press Journal, Mumbai soon after the Annual General Meeting, Sumariwalla from Gurgaon, raised the possibility of more athletes outside the national camp taking to banned drugs and laid a lot of blame on the district and state-level coaches.

"NADA (National Anti-Doping Agency) is not doing testing now (due to COVID-19 pandemic). But I am telling the athletes and coaches to not think that because of this they can take banned drugs and get away," Sumariwalla said.

Sumariwalla, who was elected unopposed as president for his third and final four-year term, came down heavily on the coaches outside the national camp, laying blame on them for intentionally giving banned drugs to their wards.

"Coaches at the district and state level give drugs to their wards and promoting doping. These are government coaches. If their wards do well, these coaches will get financial incentives and they will remain at their home station, will not get transferred.

"So, they (coaches) do all these for their benefit but it is harming Indian athletics. Everyone should be responsible. Please educate the coaches at your districts and states," Sumariwalla said while addressing the district and state-level officials.

He warned against the contaminated food supplements available in the market and asked the athletes not to buy them from outside the camp.

"I am told that the food supplements imported from outside the country might have come clean but I think these are re-packed again in India

and these may be contaminated. I am appealing to my athletes to be very careful and not buy from outside. Please consult doctors before using these food supplements," the AFI chief said.

The former Olympian, Sumariwalla also brought up the long-standing problem of age-fudging by athletes at the age-group events. Here also coaches are hand in glove with the athletes, he revealed.

Earlier, incumbent Adille Sumariwalla was elected president of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) for his third term while legendary long jumper Anju Bobby George was made senior vice-president. Ravinder Chaudhary, who has served AFI for a long time in various capacities, was elected secretary.

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