New Delhi: The Asian Athletics Championships have been switched to the city of Pune in July after Chennai refused to host any Sri Lankans.
New Delhi was considered as an alternative but the logistics for the July 3-7 event worked better for Pune, Athletics Federation of India president Adille Sumariwala told The Associated Press by telephone on Thursday.
Chennai, the capital of the southern state of Tamil Nadu, was ruled out in February after the state chief minister Jayaram Jayalalitha said hosting the event would anger people in her province because of alleged atrocities against the ethnic Tamil minority during the civil war in Sri Lanka.
"We did not consider Chennai as a venue once the government refused to host the event. Sports is one thing and public sentiments another. We should understand that it would not be possible to organize the meet there," said Sumariwala, India's top sprinter during the 1980s.
Sri Lankan cricketers contracted by Indian Premier League franchises were also not allowed to play in Chennai this year.
The Sri Lankan government and now-defeated Tamil Tiger rebels have been accused of serious human rights violations during the 25-year war, especially in its final stages.
According to a UN report, tens of thousands of civilians were killed in the five months before fighting ended in 2009.