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AFI keen to boost grassroots coaching scheme with eye on 2036 Olympics

The Athletics Federation of India is keen to invest in a robust coaching programme that will help Indian athletes to shine at the global stage.

AFI initiated the World Athletics (WA) Coaching Education Programme in 2018.(Shutterstock)

AFI initiated the World Athletics (WA) Coaching Education Programme in 2018 that has laid a strong foundation at the grassroots level, AFI president Adille Sumariwalla said.

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Until the World Athletics Coaching Course started in India in 2018, Indian athletics experts had to travel abroad to attend courses.

“There were limited number of seats for each country. Few Indian coaches could attend the course to update their knowledge,” he said. “Now, we have courses being conducted on home soil and it’s a big advantage for the Indian coaches.

“A structured coaching pattern at grassroots level will strengthen the foundation of athletics in the country.”

On Saturday, 74 coaches successfully completed World Athletics Coaching Education Programme Level 1 Course held at Patiala’s National Institute of Sports (NIS) and KIIT University, Bhubaneswar.

The AFI president said the federation is on track to have at least 10,000 Level 1 coaches in the next five years.

“The emphasis is on having a good coaching system across the country as there are more than 600 districts. Our goal is to have at least one Level 2 coach in each of the districts in the country.”

“This is part of our roadmap towards 2036 Olympics, “said Sumariwalla, one of the vice-presidents of World Athletics.

The coaching course is being conducted in coordination with World Athletics, Sports Authority of India (SAI) and with support from REC Limited, he added.

Currently, there are 1,302 Level 1 and 249 Level 2 coaches in India. Their numbers have grown since the WA programme started in India.

There are 2,700 pre-Level 1 coaches. A Level 2 coaching course for sprints and throws will start in Thiruvananthapuram on February 10 with 32 having enrolled for the week-long course.

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