Never before has Neeraj Chopra questioned officiating in any meet at any level. The Olympic and World Champion has preferred to let his performance do the talking so when he says “ gadbad to hai (something is wrong)” it speaks volumes about the level of officiating in athletics at the Asian Games.
“Our team should definitely look into why so many things have gone wrong. I haven’t seen this in big competitions because, after a disruption to the first throw, it could have thrown me off balance. We saw how Jyothi had to fight. Some athletes can be mentally strong and fight it but it can affect others,” Chopra said after leading India’s 1-2 in javelin throw that saw Kishore Kumar Jena get a personal best twice.
Chopra’s first throw was massive and looked close to 87m, but it wasn’t measured, and he had to re-throw. “Something happened at the other end, and they didn’t measure it properly. The next athlete threw quickly after me and then they lost the mark,” Neeraj said.
“For a while they kept searching for the point of landing. I then went and asked officials what happened. I knew it was a good throw, I’ll look at the videos to see how far it might have gone but it felt good. I protested but it was breezy and other athletes were cooling down and it was becoming unfair to them. They then offered me a re-throw and I accepted,” he explained but there was no official clarity on what exactly happened out on the field.
“It’s the first time something like this has happened to me in a competition. The rule is six, but I threw seven. It happened with Jyothi, me, and Jena. Gadbad toh hai. But we have got the results and shown them how hard we’ve worked and won medals,” he added.
In Jena’s case, his second throw was first declared a foul, which both athletes insisted was fair, before deeming it legal after protests. “We try to give 100 percent in every throw but sometimes things go wrong. In the 2nd throw, they called foul saying I had touched the line but I had not, I don’t think they checked properly. I have never seen anything like this anywhere ever, not even at a domestic level or small competitions in India,” Jena said.
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Deliberately targeting Indians
National long jump record holder and AFI sr vice-president Anju Bobby also slammed the organisers and claimed conspiracy targeting Indian athletes. “Jena’s throw was given a foul, but his foot was one feet behind. Annu’s (Rani) first throw yesterday wasn’t measured either, they measured it after five minutes of arguing.”
“Same thing happened with Jyothi, same happened in walking (Manju was served two warnings for technical violation in the last km). I felt Sreeshankar also jumped much better than 8.19m and on one of his jumps they raised a red flag, which I think was not a foul. I don’t know what’s wrong with their officiating.”
“They are doing this to Indian athletes, I think this is all calculated. They are trying to cheat us and disturb our athletes. Neeraj’s first throw was a very good throw, but he is an Olympic champion, he agreed to do it again but the same happened with many athletes. I think the measuring officials knew exactly what was happening. Mistakes can happen once or twice but not continuously. We are officially lodging a complaint against the officials tonight itself. This is the Asian Games, it’s big. They are targeting Indians,” Anju declared.
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