Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 22
Plummeting temperatures in North India has forced the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) to shift the training base of some of the elite athletes from Patiala.
The javelin team, including Neeraj Chopra and Shivpal Singh, will now train in Bhubaneshwar’s Kalinga Stadium. The Odisha Government has agreed to the AFI’s request and given its approval for the training camp. It is understood that the Sports Authority of India (SAI) too has given in-principle approval.
Both the coaches, Uwe Hohn and Klaus Erich Bartoneitz, will join the team in Bhubaneswar as well.
“The Odisha chief secretary has already given the approval and we are just waiting for a formal approval from SAI,” said a source. “We can start the camp there within a week,” he added.
Similarly, the middle and long distance running team comprising Ajay Saroj, Manjit Singh, PU Chitra and Sudha Singh will now train in Bengaluru. They will join Avinash Sable and Jinson Johnson who are already training there.
However, the sprint team will have to stay in Patiala for the time being as the federation is yet to work out details about an alternate training venue. The track in Thiruvananthapuram is not ready yet and plans to travel to Turkey or South Africa are out of reach due to the travel restrictions because of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a stopgap, foreign coach Galina Bukharina has switched the training times of the team to avoid the biting cold conditions in the morning.
“We can’t take them abroad as there are restrictions, besides the track in Thiruvananthapuram is not ready for our athletes to train. So we have tweaked the training times. They are now training from 10 am to 1 pm,” the source added.