Para-athletics: After chaos, men’s shot put to be held again


A day after the men’s shot put event of the National Para-Athletics Championships was held under mobile phone lights in Bengaluru, the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) said that the event would be conducted again, on Saturday.

Many mobile phone torches were switched on after sunset to enable the players to compete, as Sree Kanteerava Stadium plunged into darkness.

The PCI drew all-round flak for conducting the F-44 category event on the opening day of the 19th National Para Athletics Championships, after the competition was shifted from Chennai to Bangalore at the last minute.

PCI secretary general Gurcharan Singh on Thursday said that shot put event would be conducted again.

“Some athletes have complained to the federation. Thus, the event will be conducted again. We wanted to postpone the event from Wednesday to Thursday as it was getting dark, but some competitors didn’t agree as they had to compete in the discus throw event the next day,” Singh told IANS from Bengaluru.

“Since the competing shot put athletes had agreed to continue the officials present at the throwing arena completed the event despite it being late in the evening. The stadium is under construction, so there is no provision of floodlights,” he said.

As many as 900 athletes from across the country are competing in the three-day championships that started on Wednesday. There were allegations of mismanagement as competition was shifted from Chennai to Bengaluru due to a spike in coronavirus cases in Tamil Nadu.

It was harrowing time for athletes as they had to rush to Bengaluru, after having reached Chennai.

“We plan to reimburse the amount athletes have spent on travel from Chennai to Bengaluru. We are also trying to accommodate parents and escorts accompanying the para-athletes. There is arrangement of meals at the stadium,” said Singh.

While the throwing events are being organised at Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Vidyanagar Stadium is the venue for the track events.

One of the officials of the state units alleged that the national governing body is charging an entry fee of Rs.2,000 per athlete.

Singh, however, said that it is the mandatory annual registration fee. “Since we maintain the data of individuals we charge a minimum amount annually. There is also an annual fee of Rs.2,500 that each athlete has to pay to the world body,” he said.

On the field, 2016 Paralympic gold medallists T. Mariyapan suffered defeat in the men’s F-42 category high jump competition. Salesh of Bihar was announced winner while Mariyapan was second. Varun Singh Bhati, who had won bronze at the 2016 Paralympic Games, came third.