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KSAA defends team selection

Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala State Athletics Association (KSAA) has come out with a stout defence on the procedures adopted by it for selecting the State team for the 34 {+t} {+h} National Games to be held in Jharkhand from February 12 to 26.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday, the KSAA president, Baby Mathew Somatheeram and secretary, M. Velayudhan Kutty said though the association was yet to receive any complaint, they were forced out to come out into the open in the light of reports, vehemently criticising the team selection, in the media.

The selection process, they said, was completed after considering the performances of the Kerala athletes in the various National meets and in the recently held State senior meet in Kochi.

The restriction that Kerala could field only 45 athletes in the Games meant that quite a few winners of the Kochi meet had to be left out.

“Our concern besides fielding a strong team is to ensure that our athletes help Kerala to win as many as medals as possible in the Games,” they added.

The briefing was also attended by the AFI joint secretary, Tony Daniel, KSAA treasurer, V.C. Alex and KSAA selection committee convenor, Jimmy Joseph.

Media criticism

The media criticism has mostly been based on the non-inclusion of K.J. Clinton, who finished second in the men's long jump at the Kochi meet and the inclusion of sprinter S. Arunjith, who had won the 100m and 200m gold medals for the State at the Guwahati National Games, but had failed to participate in any major meet this year on account of an injury.

The KSAA officials said that Arunjith's inclusion in the two sprint events will be confirmed after taking into account his performance in the all-India Railway meet to be held from February 9.

The athletic events at the Jharkhand Games are to held from February 16 to 21.

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