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'We can win more medals in Paris Olympics than in Tokyo': Adille Sumariwalla

Sumariwalla, the AFI president, said India could surpass the Tokyo Olympics medal tally in Paris. India won seven medals in Tokyo, including a gold in athletics.

We can win more medals in Paris Olympics than in Tokyo: Adille Sumariwalla

FILE PHOTO: AFI president Adille Sumariwalla


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 15 May 2024 5:52 AM GMT

The Athletic Federation of India (AFI) president Adille Sumariwalla is confident of a better show by the Indian athletes at the Paris Olympics than what they achieved in Tokyo three years back.

“We can no doubt perform better in the Paris Olympics than in Tokyo. We can win more medals in Paris," said Sumariwalla during an interaction with the media on the sidelines of the Federation Cup in Bhubaneswar.

India won seven medals in the Tokyo Olympics, including a gold in athletics.

“I had never in the past given any prediction of any event in which we could win a medal. But, if our athletes performed their best (betters their personal best) in many events, we can win medals or finish in the top four,” he said, mentioning men’s 4x400m relay, men’s long jump and men’s 3000m steeplechase, among others.

Neeraj Chopra was India's only gold medallist from Tokyo, the first since Abhinav Bindra, who won gold in shooting in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Neeraj is India's first track and field Olympic gold medallist.

Sumariwalla also said that the AFI is optimistic that at least 35 track and field athletes will qualify for the Paris Olympics. There were 26 Indian track and field athletes in the Tokyo Olympics.

"We are expecting to have at least 35 track and field athletes in the Paris Olympics. Already, 20 have qualified including the two relays and 11 athletes are within qualification slots according to World Athletics rankings. We are hoping that they (the 11) remained there and some more also qualify when the qualification window closes (on June 30)," stated Sumariwalla.

Participation in Inter-State mandatory: AFI president

Meanwhile, Sumariwalla said it is mandatory for Indian athletes to participate in the National Inter-State Athletics Championships to be held in Panchkula from June 27 to 30 to get selected for the Paris Olympics, barring a few exceptions like Neeraj.

Neeraj is exempted due to a schedule clash between the National Inter-State Athletics Championships and his participation in the Paris Diamond League, where the reigning Olympic and World Championships gold medallist will look to win the event for the first time in the season.

"Every athlete will have to take part in the National Inter-State. But National Inter-State is clashing with the Paris Diamond League (which Chopra is taking part), which is very important for Neeraj considering that the Olympics will be held there," Sumariwalla added.

Neeraj has not taken part in any domestic competition since the Federation Cup in March 2021, and he will feature in the men’s javelin final on Wednesday.

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