ISLAMABAD-Second National Youth and Junior Athletics Championship 2016 will start today (Sunday) here at the Pakistan Sports Complex Jinnah Stadium.

Athletics Federation of Pakistan Secretary M Zafar while addressing a press conference along with Islamabad Athletics Association President Brig (R) Sultan Satti and national head coach Asghar Gill announced the details of the event. He further said that AFP President Major General (R) Akram Sahi was set to conduct the press briefing but due to closure of roads, he could not make it to Islamabad but he is on his way and will reach the venue and will be the chief guest on inaugural and closing ceremonies as well.

He said all the affiliated units of AFP will be seen in action for the top honours. “We have divided the competitions into two main age groups youth are below U-17 and juniors are below U-20. A total of 16 events will be held in youth boys event and 14 events will be held in youth girls event while 18 events will be held in junior boys event and 14 events in junior girls events. Brig Satti is the Chairman Organising Committee and Asghar Gill is the Organissing Secretary. Islamabad Athletics Association is the host of the event. We would distribute gold, silver and bronze medals to top 3 position holders in each category while top 6 will earn certificates. We wanted to allocate some cash prizes as well to encourage athletes but due to highly limited resources it was not possible.”

Zafar said the top players would be shortlisted for next month’s South Asian Junior Athletics Championship to be held from in India on October 19 and 20. “We have received invitation of proposed 44-member contingent, in which 20 boys’, 18 girls’ 5 coaches and 1 manager would be selected. We will file summery for special fund for the participation in the said event with the PSB in a day or two and hopefully, the PSB will release the grant, which would enable us to send a very strong contingent.”

Zafar said the federation was focusing on young players and also providing assistance to coaches and technical officials for improving their skills.  About re-sending time and again same faces as players, managers and coaches despite repeated failures, Zafar said the federation picks managers from respective affiliated units and tit chooses those having vast experience. He agreed that results were not as per expectations but hoped to turn the tide in the due course of time.

On athletes failure in the 12th South Asian Games this year, the AFP secretary said it was not as per expectations but at least athletes did win medals for the country He said they are conducting junior level championships at top eight cities of the country to find fresh talent. “We had already conducted events in Hyderabad, Sukkur, Karachi, Lahore, while events will be held in Faisalabad, Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta.”

About age scrutiny, Zafar said an age scrutiny committee under the chairmanship of Asghar Gill has been formulated and no overage player would be allowed to compete in the championship.