Indian track and field athletes and national federation officials on Friday reacted with a sense of relief on the postponement of the Hangzhou Asian Games, saying now they will not need to "peak" their performance late in the season. This season had three big events in World Championships (July 15-24) in Eugene, USA, Birmingham Commonwealth Games (July 28 to August 8) and Asian Games for which the athletes need to "peak" every time.
The postponement of the Asian Games has reduced their burden. The Hangzhou Asian Games, which were scheduled to take place from September 10 to 25, were on Friday postponed indefinitely amid a recent surge in COVID-19 cases in China. "It's good. How many times an athlete can peak in a year? There is CWG, World Championships and then Asian Games and the athletes need to produce peak performances. It's difficult for them," Athletics Federation of India President Adille Sumariwalla told PTI.
"A very few older athletes may be affected by the Asian Games postponement, otherwise it is good for us. "When the Asian Games are held on new dates, our athletes can focus on that and we should win more medals then the last edition in 2018." Athletics is the sport which gives most medals for India in the Asian Games. Out of the overall 672 medals the country has won so far, athletics has contributed 254. Indian track and field athletes had won 20 medals (8 gold, 9 silver, 3 bronze) out of the country's total of 70 in the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia. Indian athletics chief coach Radhakrishnan Nair said the athletes were prepared for the Hangzhou Asian Games but the postponement should lesson their workload this season.
"It is the most difficult year in my coaching career with three big events lining up. We had made plans in a very different way this year. We had athletes (like Jinson Johnson) who will compete only in Asian Games and we had others like Neeraj Chopra and Avinash Sable who will compete in CWG, World Championships and Asian Games. "So, we were prepared for the Asian Games. But, now that the Asian Games are postponed, our athletes can focussed on CWG and World Championships," Nair said.
National record holder long jumper M Sreeshankar also felt that the postponement of the Asian Games will lessen his workload. "This will lessen the workload. It's difficult to peak again and again in a short span of time. I can now focus on CWG and World Championships." Jinson Johnson, who won gold in 1500m in 2018 Asian Games, has a different view. "I am a bit disappointed. I was not competing for two years after the last Asian Games. I came back this year and won a medal in the Federation Cup (in March). So, I was looking ahead and preparing for the Asian Games," the 31-year-old said. "I don't know when the Hangzhou Asian Games will be held. You don't know what will happen in future."