New Delhi: The athletics calendar this season will begin with the Indian Grand Prix on May 3 while the top-level national competition Federation Cup has been dropped in view of late start of training and packed international schedule.
The AFI announced a tentative calendar for 2011 after much delay and decided to reduce the number of competitions this season.
Training of the athletes had begun late and is yet to pick up steam as they were given long rest after a gruelling 2010 season which had seen Commonwealth and Asian Games.
Another reason for reduction in number of competitions is that the AFI top brass did not want the athletes to participate in too many events -- national and international -- in view of next year`s London Olympics.
Two top-flight international competitions – Asian Championships in Kobe, Japan (July 7-10) and World Championships in Daegu, South Korea (August 27-September 4) -- will be held this year.
Moreover, some foreign training-cum-exposure tours are also in line as part of preparations for the London Olympics.
"Training had started this month only which is a late start. All the athletes are yet to report. So, we don`t have much time and we have some top international events including Asian Championships and World Championships. So we had to drop Federation Cup," a top AFI official told reporters.
The National Institute of Sports in Patiala will play host to the season opener -- Indian Grand Prix -- on May 3 prior to the three-leg Asian Grand Prix to be held in China later that month.
The brand new synthetic track at Birsa Munda stadium in Ranchi, which hosted the athletics events in the National Games last month, will host the National Youth Championships from May in 27-29 to select Indians for the World Youth Championships at Lille, France (July 6-10).
The same venue will host the important Open Nationals in September 10-13.
Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai will host the National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships from June 7 to 10. The meet will be the final selection trials for the Indian team to take part in the Asian Athletics Championships at Kobe, Japan from July 7-10.