Kumar calls for athletes to continue training

Jet Runners Club president Abhinesh Kumar, Avikash Lal, Ravnil Rinesh Kumar. Picture: FT FILE

JET Runners Club president Abhinesh Kumar has urged athletes to continue with their training program in a bid to maintain their fitness despite the cancellation of the annual Coca-Cola Games and the Fiji National Athletics Championship.

According to Kumar many school athletes are disappointed with the cancellations because of the COVID-19 pandemic but it was not the end of the world.

Kumar said there was a bigger picture after the Coca-Cola Games with regional and international competitions such the Pacific Games, Pacific Mini Games, Oceania Championships, World Games and Olympics to aspire to.

He said athletes could reach the pinnacle of the sport only through their dedication and determination at training.

“I have been involved with some secondary schools athletics programs and have been talking to the teachers who said that some potential medal hopefuls have stopped training because of the current situation,” Kumar said.

“They have stopped training because the competitions have been cancelled.

For the school athletes, the Coca-Cola Games is like their Olympics.

“However many don’t look beyond that to keep athletics as their sporting career. The Coca-Cola Games is just the starting platform for bigger things in future.”

The Jet Runners Club has members from as young as 12-year-olds to veterans over the age of 60 years. National long-distance runner Avikash Lal is among the elite members of the club.

Avikash won the 10,000 metres gold medal at the 2017 Oceania Championships held at the ANZ Stadium in Suva.

Last year he took out the gold medal in the half marathon at the Pacific Games in Samoa and settled for a silver medal in the 5000m event.

He is the son of former Fiji long distance runner Parshotam Lal who hails from the hilly terrain of Sabeto, Nadi.

Kumar said Avikash won the 3000m gold medal at the 2015 Coca-Cola Games representing Pundit Vishnu Deo Memorial College.

“Avikash is continuing the legacy of his father,” Kumar said.

“He is the only athlete who has fulltime employment, but trains regularly and also helps his father on the farm. For our runners there is no money in athletics, all you win is medals and gain fame making your country proud.”

Avikash is a flight attendant with Fiji Airways.

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