Inter-University Athletics Championship: Time for varsity stars to pass the open National test

V. K. Vismaya, who has never participated in a national meet, ran her heart out to win the 200m event at the 78th Inter-University Athletics Championship and former athletics star P. T. Usha felt such athletes should take part in bigger events to make a name for themselves.

V.K. Vismaya was in brilliant form at the 78th National inter-university athletics championship and went on to defeat Asian bronze medallist Jisna Mathew in the 200m event.   -  Stan Rayan

V. K. Vismaya never knew she could run this fast. As she came up with some amazing times in the 200 and 400m in the 78th National inter-university athletics championship which concluded at Mangalagiri on Saturday, the 20-year-old looked around in wide-eyed wonder.

“What’s happening…this is unbelievable,” said the Assumption College athlete who was running for Mahatma Gandhi University on the Acharya Nagarjuna University’s blue track.

She virtually gave Jisna Mathew, the Asian bronze medallist, a scare in the women’s 400m and beat the star in the 200m.

“I want to do the big ones now, want to run in the World championship,” said Vismaya, eager to make the most of her new-found form.

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P. T. Usha, who had been watching Vismaya closely over five days here, felt she had a smooth running style but added that she should be doing the bigger meets.

“Girls like Vismaya should be running the senior National championships to let the world know that they exist. Only then will people take note,” said Usha, who has some very talented 400 and 800m runners at her Usha School of Athletics.

“They should be running the Nationals, the Federation Cup and the Indian Grand Prix to prove themselves in a bigger stage.”

Incidentally, Vismaya has never run in a senior National meet, mainly focusing on the varsities meet. 

Usha also explained that her athletes Jisna and halfmiler Abitha Mary Manuel were virtually in their off-season, with their focus on next year’s Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Junior Worlds and were hence not in good form at Guntur.

Despite this being the fag end of the season, there were plenty of records – including one by Mangalore’s Elakkiya Dasan in the men’s 200m, an event which he rarely ran – but with the absence of the National Anti-Doping Agency, many were left wondering how genuine these records were.

NO DOPE TESTING

“The NADA should have been here in full force taking drug tests. Just imagine how a clean athlete would feel if he or she loses by a small margin and knows that the opponent is on dope,” said Robert Bobby George who coached long jumper Anju George to the World championship bronze in 2003. “Clean athletes stand to lose seats in medical and engineering colleges and many other things.”

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Despite Olympian Nirmala Sheoran, the Asian women’s 400m champion from Haryana being untraceable for many months now, and many top athletes failing dope tests, the NADA appears to be taking athletics very lightly.

It was missing at the National Open in Chennai in September, came towards the end of last month’s Junior National in Guntur – and according to the dope control officers took just ten samples – and skipped the varsities National altogether.

And with athletes failing dope tests even in Kerala schools meets, there is a lot to worry about.