Defying the odds, they emerge champions

Saba Nayakan Kolkata | Updated on January 28, 2013 Published on January 28, 2013

Mayookha Johny

Renjith Maheshwari

Tintu Luka

The best of talents came together for the 73rd edition of the all-India inter-varsity athletics meet at the University of Kalyani. What is considered as the numero uno championship for college students, the facilities offered during turned out to be pathetic, to say the least.

Athletes such as women’s triple jumper Mayookha Johny, men’s triple jumper Renjith Maheshwari, sprinter Anand Natarajan, and middle distance runner Tintu Luka, have all represented India at the international arena after excelling at the varsity level. When modern facilities such as synthetic tracks are provided world over, Indian varsities still wallow in primitive grass tracks. In the US, college athletics have generated the best of talent which have produced world and Olympic champions. It is also the same in European countries, where schools and colleges have proved to be the strongest supporters of athletics.

As many as 150 universities sent more than 2,400 participants for the five-day meet putting the host in severe constrains in terms of providing boarding facilities to so many. The worst part was universities sending entries which were well beyond the qualifying standards set by the Association of Indian Universities. When queried on the issue, the AIU observerRaj Singh Sharmaadmitted the lacuna and promised to mention this in his report so that the malice could be tackled next year. Even though there were many problems facing the inter-varsity athletics, there were indeed some very encouraging performances. M.D. Thara of Calicut University in women’s 10,000 m run, Parveen of Punjabi and S.V. Khyathi of Rajiv Gandhi, both in men’s and women’pole vault, have set new meet marks defying the odds.

Punjabi University in Patiala will be the host next year. Its representatives have promised to provide the best of facilities for the most-neglected segment of Indian sports. It is time for the university authorities and the Central Government to give extra attention to track and field events as these are the feeder lines for Indian athletics.

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Published on January 28, 2013
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