The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has left the athletes participating in the 54th National Inter-State Athletics Championships in a tizzy by issuing two sets of Qualifying Marks for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Take the case of 22-year-old Annu Rani, who broke the 14-year-old national record in the women’s javelin throw on Saturday. Annu’s effort on Saturday was measured at 58.83m, eclipsing Gurmeet Kaur’s record of 58.64 set in July, 2000.
However, confusion prevailed over whether Annu had made the cut for the CWG. The reason being that on June 4, the AFI issued qualifying marks, which were different from the one issued a day later. Discrepancies remain in at least a dozen qualifying marks.
According to the initial list, in the women’s javelin throw the CWG qualifying mark was set at 60.03 m. Going by this criteria, Annu had failed to qualify. But the second set (June 5) of qualifying standards laid down the cut-off at 58.46m, which she cleared.
AFI treasurer and UP State Athletics Association secretary PK Srivastava insisted that the qualifying norms issued on June 5 would remain in place. However, chief athletics coach Bahadur Singh clarified that the qualifying marks were only guidelines and that the selection committee would have the final say.
The 4×400 m women’s relay norm was eased from 3:32.00 to 3:32.23. The men’s triple jump norm was also brought down from 16.96m to 16.83. Other events in which qualifying standards were altered include the women’s 100m, the men’s 200m, the men’s 400m, the women’s 1,500m, the men’s 10,000 m, the women’s 400m hurdles.
Meanwhile, Manju Bala set a national mark in the hammer throw with a throw of 62.74m to better the 12-year-old mark of Hardeep Kaur. Triple-jumper Mayookha Johny set a new meet record with a jump of 13.72m. In the men’s 3000m steeplechase, Naveen (Haryana) set a new meet record with a timing of 8:42.29.
No doctor on call
The lack of basic facilities at the meet came to the fore when Madhya Pradesh women pole-vaulter Anuska KP dislocated her knee cap. There was no doctor on call at the PAC Stadium, nor was there an ambulance available. When the officials wanted to move Anuska, who was writhing in pain under the scorching sun, to the medical room they could not locate a stretcher. Finally, the athlete had to be hauled on a plastic chair.