2 Odisha MPs to raise injustice to Amiya, Srabani in RS tomorrow

Bhubaneswar/New Delhi: Backing star Odia sprinters Srabani Nanda and Amiya Mallick, whose dream of Rio Olympics was shattered due to the callousness of Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the Delhi State Athletics Association (DSAA), BJD MPs Bhupinder Singh and Dilip Tirkey today said they will raise the issue at the Indian Grand Prix that robbed the young athletes of Rio qualification, in the Rajya Sabha tomorrow.

Terming the episode as ‘most unfortunate’, the former captain of Indian Hockey team and Rajya Sabha member Dilip Tirkey has given notice in this regard.

Similarly, Singh, who shot off a letter to the Union Sports minister demanding a re-test of running of both the Odia runners, also said that he would join Tirkey in raising the issue in the Upper House.

The two promising athletes had bagged gold in the one-day Indian Grand Prix at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, which is conducted to give Indian athletes a chance to qualify for the Rio Games in August.

However, manual time recording was done for all the events due to a sudden power failure at the start of the event. And, the manual timings are not accepted for records by International Association of Athletics (IAAF). Subsequently, the organisers also withdrew the Olympic status of this event.

The Nehru stadium has back-up generators installed within the arena but there was no stadium staff to operate the 10 generators as Sunday was their off day.

Soon, there were three new national records created in men’s 100 m, 400 m and women’s 100 m. Srabani Nanda not only created a new national record with a timing of 11.23 seconds but also met the qualifying mark for Rio. Similarly, Amiya Malik of Odisha also got the Rio qualification mark with a national record of 10.09 seconds in the men’s 100 m.

They were crestfallen after finding out that manual timings cannot be taken as records by IAAF.

Indian chief coach Bahadur Singh had rued the unfortunate situation and said that “Srabani and Amiya could well have qualified because there’s only 0.2 to 0.4 second difference between electronic and manual recordings”.

Meanwhile, reacting to the whole incident Amiya said “I know that my timing has qualified and my timing is better than what is required for Olympics qualification. But until and unless, the federation clarifies I won’t be able to say whether I have qualified or not.”