Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 24:
Two ace sprinters from Odisha— who had participated in the Rio Olympics— have come under the cloud of suspicion after International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) has pointed fingers at the automatic timers used for recording the timings for qualifying to the Olympics.
Sprinters Dutee Chand and Srabani Nanda are among the four athletes who have come under the scanner. The other two are triple jumper Renjith Maheswary and long jumper Ankit Sharma.
According to leading athletics statistician Heinrich Hubbeling, co-editor of IAAF’s National Records, the qualifying performances of some of the athletes have been found to be doubtful. After studying the performance of the athletes, he has prepared a database and sent it to IAAF which has marked these sportspersons doubtful.
While 21-year-old Dutee Chand brushed aside the spectre of misgiving, Srabani was unavailable for comments.
“It is all about human body. There is no guarantee that performance will always be good all the time. I had clocked 11.33 seconds in the women’s 100 m dash at the Federation Cup National Athletics Championships in New Delhi and could not qualify for the Olympics for one micro seconds. I got two months time to train. I had participated in three international events. In Kazakhstan, I had clocked 11.32 seconds and qualified for the heats. In the final, my timing was 11.24 seconds which was recorded electronically by foreign officials. It is an attempt to blame the sports persons for the dismal show at the Olympics. Performance varies from time to time. When Ussain Bolt had set a world record in the 100 m men’s sprint by clocking 9.4 seconds, why couldn’t he set a new record at the Olympics?” Dutee Chand questioned.
Speaking on the same lines, sports trainers also backed the Odisha athletes.
“It is not possible for a sprinter to maintain consistent timing every time he/she runs on the field. If that is the case, then Ussain Bolt could have set another world record at the Olympics by bettering his earlier performance,” Nilamadhab Deo, eminent athletics coach said.
It may be mentioned here that Dutee had qualified for the Olympics by covering the 100 m in 11.24 seconds at Almaty in June this year. However, she registered a timing of 11.69 seconds at the Rio Games which was below than her personal best.
Similarly, Srabani too performed badly at the Olympics 200 m event by clocking 23.58 seconds against the qualifying timing of 23.07 seconds at Almaty.
Notably, India had sent largest-ever contingent to the Olympics this year. PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik were India’s only medal winners at the Rio Olympics 2016. While Sindhu won a silver in Badminton, Sakshi had won a bronze in wrestling.