The event lacked quality

To say that the National Circuit athletics meet in Chennai was a fiasco would be an understatement. The event was dull, colourless and lacked competitive spirit and enthusiasm of the participants.

S. THYAGARAJAN

Madhuri A. Singh winning the 800m. She was the only athlete who deserved the cash award. — Pic. VINO JOHN-

To say that the National Circuit athletics meet in Chennai was a fiasco would be an understatement. The event was dull, colourless and lacked competitive spirit and enthusiasm of the participants. It was a futile attempt by the Amateur Athletics Federation of India to whip up interest. If anything, it is now becoming a cruel joke and a total waste of time, apart from imposing a heavy financial burden, in the form of prize money, to the host.

Not a single notable performance was recorded in the 14 events that cost the Tamil Nadu Amateur Athletics Association Rs. 2,10,000 in terms of prize money alone, apart from the organisational inputs.

Imagine the plight of the Tamil Nadu administration, which took up the task of conducting two meets, when Thiruvananthapuram and Delhi pulled out. Bangalore went on schedule but faced the same plight.

Prize money henceforth should be linked to performance. For instance, Bobby Aloysious, who touched no more than 1.80 metres in high jump pocketed a sum of Rs. 10,000, knowing well that the three other competitors would not be able to match that effort. The emphasis is first place and not on improving the time, distance or height.

Anyhow, there was a lot of focus on this woman, striving to hit the qualifying standard of 1.92m, holding the National record at 1.90 m. Bobby attributed her poor display to the conscious change in her technique of the run up to the jumping pit. She stated that this new style was acquired only recently during her training in UK, after a stint in Moscow. Observers note that it may take a few more months before Bobby realised the full impact of her run up technique.

Pathetic too was the performance of Rakesh Kumar, who broke the National record in hammer under difficult weather conditions at Bangalore. But in Chennai, he flopped in all the four throws and was disqualified. Physically unfit Sandeep Sarkaria pulled out after 30 metres in the 100 metres sprint, leaving Sanjay Ghosh the winner in a time of 10.52 s. followed by Amit Saha of Railways.

Perhaps, the only athlete who deserved the cash award was Madhuri A. Singh in the 800 metres, clocking 2:06s with Tamil Nadu's C. Latha giving her some sort of a challenge. Of the seven who faced the starter only five finished.

Much was expected of Bobby Aloysius. But the high jumper, though she won, disappointed with a mediocre show. — Pic. M. MOORTHY-

The enthusiasm of officials like Walter I. Dawaram, heading the TNAAA, assisted by Neela Sivalinga Swamy, Secretary, and Valson, Technical Director, would have received adequate compensation if all the listed athletes had turned up. One can well imagine the disappointment of the sponsors, ICICI, Indian Oil and HSBC, towards the attitude of the athletes, which, to say the least, is reprehensible.

It is time the AAFI re-examined the worth, or the lack of it, of conducting these domestic circuit meets, which, anyhow, await a slow, inevitable death if the interest shown by the athletes in such ventures is any indication.

The results: Men:

100 metres: 1. Sanjay Ghosh (SSCB) 10.52s, 2. Amit Saha (Railways) 10.65s, 3. Piyush Kumar (Delhi) 10.69s.

400 metres: 1. Anil Kumar Rohil (SSCB) 47.43s, 2. Satbir Singh (SSCB) 47.77s, 3. K. Suresh (TN) 47.92s.

800 metres: 1. P. S. Primesh (Ker) 1:52.45s, 2. Ghamanda Ram (SSCB) 1:53.89s, 3. Tej Karan Singh (Railways) 1:56.32s.

5000 metres: 1. Kuldeep Kumar (Police) 14:43.00s, 2. I. A. Shivananda (Railways) 14:44.62s, 3. Arun D'Souza (Railways) 14:45.30s.

110 hurdles: 1. Prasad Reddy (SSCB) 14.79s, 2. Manjunath B. Godi (Kar) 14.96s, 3. Sandeep Parmar (Maha) 14.97s.

Shot put: 1. Jaiveer Singh (SSCB) 18.57m, 2. Kuldeep Singh Mann (CISF) 17.10m, 3. Malkhan Singh (Punjab) 16.71m.

Javelin throw: 1. Ramandeep Singh (Punjab) 74.78m, 2. Lijesh Kumar (SSCB) 73.20m, 3. Avtar Singh (Punjab) 64.25m.

Hammer throw: 1. Nirbhay Singh (SSCB) 65.55m, 2. Bir Karan Singh (Punjab) 64.30m, 3. Gurinderjit Singh (Punjab) 63.56m.

Women:

100 metres: 1. Raakhee Saha (Bengal) 12.08s, 2. Greeshma (Ker) 12.19s, 3. Mandeep Kaur (Punjab) 12.24s.

400 metres: 1. Manjit Kaur (Punjab) 53.73s, 2. S. Geetha (AP) 54.38s, 3. Kalapana Reddy (AP) 54.76s.

800 metres: 1. Madhuri A. Singh (Punjab) 2:06.0s, 2. C. Latha (TN) 2:09.0s, 3. Hemalatha (Kar) 2:09.4s.

High Jump: 1. Bobby Aloysius (Ker) 1.80m, 2. Sahana Kumari (Kar) 1.73 m, 3. M. Sangeetha (TN) 1.70 m.

Discus throw: 1. Harwant Kaur (Punjab), 57.76m, 2. Krishna Poonia (Railways) 52.68m, 3. Seema Antil (Har) 51.31m.

Hammer throw: 1. Ritu Rani (Delhi) 54.01m, 2. Rajwinder Kaur (Punjab) 45.33m, 3. S. Shanthi (TN) 44.24m.