Kaziranga to host 57th national cross country championships on Jan 7 & 8

Guwahati: Logistic challenges could force the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) to relook at hosting the 57th National Cross Country Championships in the proposed venue of Kaziranga National Park.

Earlier in the day, the AFI released its competition schedule for the 2023 season which will begin with the 57th National Cross Country championships on January 7 and 8.

“Many teams have raised concerns regarding the venue due to logistical and connectivity challenges. We are looking forward to addressing all the issues but if nothing works out, we might have to probably think of shifting it elsewhere,” AFI vice president Lakhya Konwar told EastMojo.

“We haven’t exactly zeroed in on the venue, and will take a call after discussions with all stakeholders. As of now Kaziranga remains the tentative host, but it all depends on how things take shape in the run-up to the event. In case it doesn’t work, we are looking at Guwahati as the other venue,” he added.

According to an AFI statement, the cross-country championships were planned on a course inside the Kaziranga National Park, the abode of one-horned rhinoceros.

AFI president Adille J. Sumariwalla said the domestic calendar has been prepared with an eye on the international competition in 2023.

“We have many events, in which our athletes can showcase the progress being made. AFI is confident that Indian athletics will continue to grow in the right direction and trajectory,” he said.

Sumariwalla further said that the federation was happy that its flagship National Inter-District Junior Athletics Meet (NIDJAM) would be back on the annual calendar after a three-year gap due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The competition will be held from January 12 to 14 in Patna.

“We are excited that Bihar has come forward to support NIDJAM in a big way and will host it in Patna,” he said.

The 10th Indian Open Race Walking Competition will be held in Ranchi on February 14 and 15, before the competitions head south for the 2nd Indian Open Throws Competition at the IIS, Bellary on March 1 and 2, followed by the 4th Indian Open 400m Competition, Thiruvananthapuram.

The World Race Walking Team Championships in Muscat (March 4 and 5) would be the first major meet for Indians. The Asian Championships in Pattaya, Thailand (July 12 to 16) assumes importance as the winners get direct qualification for the World Championships in Budapest (August 19 to 27). The Asian Games is scheduled for Hangzhou (September 23 to October 8).

For the juniors, the much-postponed Asian Junior Athletics Championships would be held in Yecheon, South Korea from June 4 to 7 ahead of the World U20 championships in Lima, Peru from August 20 to 25.

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