SAAF-AFI online seminar witnesses massive participation

New Delhi [India], April 28 (ANI): The Athletics Federation of India's (AFI) online seminar for track and field sport's technical officials witnessed massive participation from across South Asian Athletics Federation (SAAF) member nations.

As many as 911 participants from across SAAF member countries joined the online seminar, where Ireland's Pierce O'Callaghan discussed judging race walking and Spain's Luis Saladie helped with drawing up timetables for competition.

Replying to a query on why there were more disqualifications in race walking than in other events at the world championships, O'Callaghan said there could be a number of reasons, including a walker trying too hard or being too nervous and making mistakes, as well as coming through to the biggest event after passing scrutiny by inexperienced or lenient judges.

"Obviously, they have been disqualified because they were found to be not complying with the rules," O'Callaghan said in a statement.

O'Callaghan also sought to allay the fears of track and field officials that prevents many of them from talking up race walking judging, reassuring them that it is not so technical and complicated as many imagined it to be.

"It is a simple sport, race walking. Very basic human movement. Not everyone will jump a hurdle or throw a javelin, but everyone walks," he said.

A regular visitor to India including to conduct race walking judges' courses, O'Callaghan said that South Asia, with its population, passion and enthusiasm, is the sleeping giant of world athletics. He said the seminar, a brainchild of AFI President Adille J Sumariwalla and AFI Planning Committee Chairman Lalit K Bhanot, was a step towards awakening the giant.

O'Callaghan was addressing technical officials from eight South Asian countries who attended the third day's session in the five-day online seminar hosted by the AFI and SAAF.

The seminar, designed to update the knowledge of the technical officials in the region, will conclude on Wednesday. (ANI)