Saturday 17 February 2018
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Bhubaneswar, July 5: Gen. Dahlan Jumaan al-Hamad, Asian Athletics Association (AAA) on Wednesday said the AAA was working on a strategic plan to develop track and field sport in the continent from 2018 to 2021. “This will be in line with the strategy of the International Association of Athletics Federations so that we expand our horizons,” he said.

Speaking with the media after the 22nd AAA Congress here, Gen. al-Hamad said AAA would work with the IAAF to ensure that Asia’s top athletes do not skip the Asian Athletics Championships (AAC). “You can’t go to the market, the media and the fans without a full complement of athletes taking part in these championships,” he said.

“We will find a solution,” he said, indicating that the IAAF President Sebastian Coe would help in the resolution of the problem. “The athletes are controlled by the IAAF Competition Rules which gives the athletes the freedom to stay away from the Asian Championship.”

The AAA President said there could be a new format for the Asian Grands Prix event soon. “We are reviewing it and want it to be held before the athletes move to the European and American circuits,” he said. “We have the talent and the means to compare ourselves with any other continent,” he said  

He revealed that AAA had made some constitutional amendments, relieving the AAA General Secretary-Treasurer of the pressures of electoral politics. “Since we decided that this position would now be part of the AAA staff, we will have a vacancy in the council and we will fill it up with a woman member. That will increase the number of women in the council to three,” he said.

He thanked the Odisha Chief Minister Mr Naveen Patnaik, the Odisha Minister of Sports, Youth Affairs and IT Mr Chandra Sarathi Behara and the people of Odisha for hosting AAC2017. “From the moment we landed in Bhubaneswar, we knew we have landed in the right spot where people are passionate about sports,” he said. He also thanked the Government of India.