Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 28:
Hopes of a billion Indians were dashed as Odia sprinters Srabani Nanda and Amiya Mallick were disqualified from competing in Rio Olympics 2016, even after qualifying for the world’s biggest sporting extravaganza and setting national records in the first ever Indian Grand Prix. A technical glitch due to power failure at the venue deemed the qualifier invalid and robbed the athletes off the opportunity to represent their country in the Olympics to be held in Rio, this year.
There was a power failure at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, the venue of the Indian Grand Prix. Installed generators could not kick in as the officials supposed to be operating them were absent as it was a Sunday. Hence the timings of the athletes were recorded by the officials of Sports Authority of India and the Delhi State Athletics Association manually, not electronically. It is noteworthy that the International Association of Athletics (IAAF) does not hold manual recordings of the timings valid.
Hence, the unacceptance of the ratings by the IAAF deemed the entire qualifier, null. In spite of Odisha’s Srabani Nanda and Amiya Mallick clinching gold medals and setting national records at 11.23 seconds and 10.09 seconds, respectively in 100 m race, the Indian Grand Prix being termed invalid as a qualifier does not allow them to participate in the Olympics.
According to reports, the Odisha Sports & Youth Affairs Minister Sudam Marandi has written to the Centre to take the matter seriously and ensure the Odia sprinters participation in the Olympics. Furthermore, Rajya Sabha MP Bhupinder Singh has also intimated the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who has in turn assured the former of discussing the Indian Grand Prix fiasco with Athletics Federation of India (AFI). Singh has also written to Union sports minister Sarbabnanda Sonowal demanding a re-test.
Former Indian hockey player and Rajya Sabha MP, Dilip Tirkey, had given a notice for a discussion during Zero Hour yesterday, as per reports.
The next qualifiers are the Federation Cup to be held in New Delhi on April 28-30 and the second Grand Prix in Patiala on May 7.