- Irfan and Sreeshankar had underperformed during a fitness trial that was mandated by the AFI
- Irfan was the first Indian track and field athlete to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics
- Sreeshankar qualified after a national record jump of 8.26m
Athletics Federation of India (AFI) president Adille J. Sumariwalla said on Friday that “action” will be taken against long jumper Sreeshankar and KT Irfan if they don’t perform well at the Tokyo Olympics.
“The coaches have promised that their respective athletes would give their best in Tokyo. Sreeshankar’s father and coach have assured of good performance from his athlete. If athletes do not perform well in the Olympics, we will take action against them,” said Sumariwalla in the AFI’s statement announcing the inclusion of Sreeshankar and Irfan in the Indian athletics team for the Games.
Irfan and Sreeshankar had underperformed during a fitness trial that was mandated by the AFI at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Youth Centre in Bengaluru for those athletes who missed the National Championships. The AFI said in its statement on Friday that there was “strong opinion” that both athletes should be withdrawn because of these performances.
Sreeshankar qualified for the Olympics with a national record 8.26m jump at the Federation Cup in March while Irfan was the first Indian track and field athlete to seal qualification for the Games, having done so way back in March 2019.
In an emergency meeting, despite the strong opinion that both athletes should be withdrawn after they under-performed in the trials in Bengaluru, the Committee considered that the Federation had called only for trials to assess fitness and not form and arrived at the unanimous decision to not pull the two athletes out of the squad,” said the AFI.
Sumariwalla said that the selectors’ view was that “athletes, especially those who meet qualification standards early, need to compete in the final selection trial and show their performance”.