AFI felicitates Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra on being elected as IOC member

Bid to discourage early Specialisation among Athletes

Agra, July 20: The Athletics Federation of India on Saturday honoured Indian Olympic Association President Dr. Narinder Dhruv Batra on being recently elected member of the International Olympic Committee. The brief and simple felicitation ceremony was held during the second day of the AFI annual general meeting here.

“It is good feeling to be among such friends. When we meet the Government officials, we know that they rate Athletics Federation of India very high for its professionalism. AFI has the answers to all the questions that these Government officials ask,” Dr. Batra said. “I know that athletics is on the right track.”

The IOA President said he had expectations from Indian track and field stars. “I look up to athletics as we are planning to bid for 2026 Youth Olympic Games,2030 Asian Games and 2032 Olympic Games. Unless our athletes start winning medals, the people in general may not support the idea of bidding for these events, which do cost a lot of money to organise,” he said.

“We are looking at reaching double-figures in Olympic Games medals in Tokyo. 25 in 2024 and 40 in 2028. Unless we set ourselves targets, we will not reach them. Wrestling, boxing, badminton, table tennis, shooting, athletics and hockey should all be winning medals in Olympic Games,” Dr. Batra said.

Striking a personal note, he said he owed a great deal to AFI Planning Committee Chairman Dr. Lalit K. Bhanot. “My sports career virtually ended in 2000 or 2001 but Dr. Lalit Bhanot got me back in sports in 2009. I can say without hesitation that I owe all this (the journey from Hockey India to Indian Olympic Association President to International Hockey Federation President to IOC Member) to him,” he said.

On the second day of the AFI annual general meeting here on Saturday, Dr. Batra also launched the new-look website of the Athletics Federation of India. It has been re-designed for greater navigation comfort and easier access to information.

The Federation, taking a cue from the decision of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to discontinue the World Youth Championships, agreed unanimously to discourage coaches from forcing athletes to specialise early. The risk of over-training and the rate of burnout are enormous. Chief Coach Bahadur Singh will lead a committee to recommend the right events for young athletes so that the focus is on their overall development.

In another major decision, AFI resolved to work towards raising the quality of technical conduct of all meets so that the athlete would a good experience of competition. This decision was made in the wake of reports of poor technical conduct of some National level meets in the last couple of years.