Chennai:India's biggest athletic event of the year, the National Federation Cup is underway in Chennai. It will determine the future of India's most talented athletes. Suresh Kalmadi, President, Indian Athletic Federation, said, "It's the selection trial for the Commonwealth Games, the World Junior championships in Jamaica, the Asian Track and Field Meet in Colombo and the Asian Games. Experts point out that little or no international exposure for our athletes in their formative years robs them of that much needed competitive spirit." Dr Kannan, Athletic Expert, "Outside athletics have an edge because they have seen international competition at a young age. So when our boys get there, it is their first time. And if they don't do well, they are finished." Our athletes set impressive records at such championships, but in the international arena, the medals are few and far between. And that is the biggest challenge the eight foreign coaches appointed by the federation are faced with. According to Amit Khanna, athlete, "Their training is very good. They are focussing on technical aspects and helping us a lot." But while we may have foreign coaches, none of the teams have a physiotherapist. Therefore, it is hardly surprising why injuries are neither averted nor treated professionally. Noosheen, athlete, said, "Even if there are injuries, recovery takes a long time. Fitness is very crucial, as it is we are so puny compared to athletes abroad." India seems all set to bid for hosting the Asian track and field athletic championship next year and the Commonwealth Games in 2010. But clearly a lot more needs to be done to attract spectators.