Power outage denies three sprinters national records

Despite running the races of their lives and setting what would, in official results, count as national records, Srabani, Amiya and Anas would not be accorded that status because the timings were registered manually because of a power failure in the stadium.

Srabani Nanda (093) won the women's 100m final at the Indian Grand Prix athletics event in New Delhi on Sunday.   -  SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

Srabani Nanda, Amiya Kumar Malick and Muhammed Anas were a disappointed trio at the end of the first Indian Grand Prix athletics here on Sunday. Despite running the races of their lives and setting what would, in official results, count as national records in their respective races, the three sprinters would not be accorded that status because the timings were registered manually after a power failure left the entire Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, literally, powerless.

Interestingly, while the official results up to two decimal places confirm the trio ran better than the existing records, hand timings are taken rounded off to one decimal point, in which case there would have been no new records set at the meet!

That may seem confusing for a layman but for the athletes, it was simply a wasted opportunity. The season opener event, one of the four Olympic qualifying meets to be held in India — the others being the second leg of the tournament, the Federation Cup and the inter-state meet — had to be conducted with manual scorers and no lights after a power transformer burnt out at the stadium.

While AFI officials claimed that the stadium administrator refused to provide any generator as backup despite repeated requests, SAI authorities denied any responsibility, saying they only provide whatever is requested during the booking of the venue and no backup had been asked for.

The 21-year old Anas who, in his first race in the senior division, not only upset favourite Rajiv Arokia but also shaved more than a second off his own previous best to complete the 400m in 45.41 seconds, better than K.M. Binu’s 45.48 set at Athens Olympics in 2004. However, rules for hand timings would put his timing at 45.5 seconds, still his personal best.

“Little disappointed, satisfied with performance, will try and set record at Fed Cup,” Anas said in broken English and through a friend who translated his thoughts from Malayalam.

It was even closer for Srabani and Malick, whose timings in the women’s and men’s 100 metres were within the Olympic qualifying mark.

“Such things may not matter to the administration but act as de-motivators for the athletes. They push themselves and then suffer for no fault of theirs. But I am still hopeful of some of them bettering themselves in the coming events,” a disappointed chief coach Bahadur Singh admitted.

The results: Women: 100m: Srabani Nanda (Del, 11.3s), Sini S. (Del, 11.6), Himashree Roy (WB, 11.8); 400m: Anilda Thomas (Ker, 53.0s), M.R. Poovamma (ONGC, 53.1), Anu R. (Ker, 54.3); 1500m: Chitra P.U. (Ker, 4:27.1), Gomathi M. (TN, 4:27.3), Pooja (Del, 4:35.1); 3000m run: Suriya L. (Del, 9:04.5), Swati G. (RSPB, 9:17.8), Meenu (Del, 9:59.4); Long jump: M.A. Prajusha (Del, 6.29m), Neena Varakil (Del, 5.93); Shot Put: Renu Grewal (Har, 12.60m), Sonal Goyal (Del, 12.51m), Navjot Kaur (Del, DNS); Javelin throw: Annu Rani (UP, 58.42m), Suman Devi (UP, 56.85); Discus throw: Navjot Kaur (Del, 55.73m), Krishna Poonia (Har, 55.22), Sonal Goyal (Del, 40.41).

Men: 100m: Amiya Kumar Malick (Del, 10.1s), Vidyasagar S. (Navy, 10.4), Vikas Gulia (Har, 10.4); 400m: Muhammad Anas (Del, 45.5s), Rajiv Arokia (Del, 45.9), Kunhu Mohammed (Del, 46.5); 1500m: Ajay Kumar Saroj (UP, 3:44.4), Jinson Johnson (SSCB, 3:44.9), Rahul Singh (Del, 3:45.4); 3000m: Lakshmanan G. (Del, 8:07.4), Man Singh (Del, 8:08.9), Suresh Kumar (UP, 8:09.1); Long jump: Nikhil Chittarasu (Del, 7.50m), Chandan Kumar Yadav (Del, 7.06), Elakkiyadasan V. (Del, 6.89); Triple jump: Renjith Maheshwary (Del, 16.35m), Sumit Chaudhary (Del, 15.58), Ranjit Singh (Del, 14.66); High jump: Jagdeep Singh (Del, 2.15m), Ritesh Kumar (UP, 2.10); Shot put: Omprakash Singh (ONGC, 19.00m), Jasdeep Singh (Del, 18.46), Ramesh Kumar (Har, 16.79); Javelin throw: Neeraj Chopra (Del, 79.54m), Shivpal Singh (Air Force, 79.34), Amrendra Singh (Del, 75.56); Discus throw: Kirpal Singh (Del, 57.75m), Arjun (Del, 56.53), Dharamraj Yadav (UP, 55.11).