Official apathy ‘robs’ athletes of records at Delhi state meet

June 8, 2018, Delhi



Last weekend when over 600 athletes reached the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium for the Delhi State Championships, they weren’t aware that their efforts wouldn’t count. The absence of a photo finish camera robbed them off an opportunity to get their timings officially registered. They knew that even if they broke a record, it wouldn’t make it to the books since it wouldn’t be rectified.

With the official time-keeper complaining of ‘payment problems’ and not turning up, the races were decided by stop-watch timings, not the most reliable or scientific method. An official working with the Athletics Federation of India confirmed to The Indian Express that Pankaj Bhalla, the official timekeeper of AFI, had not received his dues for last few events, including the previous edition of the Delhi State Championship.

“For how long will I do charity? I have to pay my staff. I had quoted a subsidised rate because I do it for the love of sports. But they have stopped paying that too,” Bhalla said. He went on to claim that he hadn’t got paid for the last four years with the dues amounting to lakhs of rupees.

The president of Delhi State Athletics Association Sunny Joshua said he wasn’t aware of any “payment dues” and agreed it was a huge setback for the athletes. “I am not aware about the payment issues. Sandeep Mehta (secretary of the state association) takes care of it. But even if there were payment dues, they should have come. They had promised us they would turn up but backed out at the last moment. Payment dues is just an excuse,” said

Meanwhile, the athletes feel cheated because of this vendor-official blame game. They complained about the lack of basic facilities at the tournament which was also the trials for this month’s Inter-State Meet at Guwahati. Interestingly, the performance at the Guwahati event will decide the Asian Games squad.

“I didn’t even give it my best because I knew handheld timings are not considered for any records. It’s at events like these that you get to know where your performance stands. We get hand clock timings at practice sessions itself. This is sorely disappointing,” said a winner of a sprinting event.

India win four medals
Gifu: Indian track and field athletes clinched four medals, including a gold, as they got off their campaign at the 2018 Asian Junior Championships to a strong start at Gifu, Japan. Ashish Jakhar was the star among the Indians on the opening day as he set a junior national record en route to winning a gold medal in the men’s hammer throw event.

Jakhar, a former gold medallist at the 2016 Asian Junior Championships, threw the 6kg iron ball and chain to a distance of 76.86m at the Gifu Nagaragawa Stadium to shatter the previous mark of 75.04m that he himself had set at the Junior Federation Cup in April.

Jakhar began strongly with a throw of 74.97m in his first attempt before managing to set a new national mark in his second effort. He was joined on the podium by compatriot Damneet Singh who also managed a personal best of 74.08m to clinch the silver medal. Singh, the 2017 World Youth silver medallist, bettered his previous best effort of 70.37m recorded at the Junior Federation Cup earlier this year.

After the hammer throwers opened India’s account, Priyadarshini Suresh and long distance runner Poonam Sonune added to the tally with bronze medals in women’s triple jump and women’s 5000m race respectively. Priyadarshini leaped a personal best of 13.08m in her second jump of the competition. The gold went to Vietnam’s VU Thi Ngoc Ha who cleared a distance of 13.22m while China’s Youqi Pan was second with a best jump of 13.21m. PTI

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