To get her a seat in an MTech course under the sports quota, a Sports Authority of India athletics coach Om Parkash Sinhmar arranged a Haryana state-level certificate of merit for his daughter Anshu Sinhmar.
The certificate claimed that Anshu had jumped 5.6 metre to win the long jump gold in the State Senior Athletics Championship in Sonepat April last. On the basis of the certificate, she was seeking admission to MTech (Chemical Engineering) in Panjab University, Chandigarh.
However, PU has in place a system of taking sports trials to verify the sporting credentials, on the basis of which a student has applied for a seat under the sports quota.
That’s where Anshu was caught and her candidature was rejected.
During the trials on July 16, 2013, Anshu, who as per the certificate had jumped 5.6m mark, could not touch 2m mark and even failed to make a single proper jump and fouled all the three attempts. Hindustan Times has in its possession the sports trial sheet of Anshu Sinhmar, where remarks were given that she fouled all three jumps.
Though she was having an original certificate and her name was mentioned in the record books of the Haryana Athletics Association, her performance during the sports trials presented a totally contrasting picture.
“How come a state champion, who has jumped 5.6m, was unable to touch even 2m mark during the trials? The reality is that she was never into the competitive sport and at least not up to the level which was claimed in the certificate. I was present during the trials and she even didn’t have the basic idea of long jump and that’s why all her jumps were foul,” said Gurmeet Singh, then director of sports, Panjab University. “I got a number of calls for not raising objections to her application during the trials. If I would have done that I would have allowed a non-deserving candidate to get admission under the sports quota,” he added.
Anshu’s is not the only one in PU who was rejected on the basis the sports trials. In 2012, three netball players, who were holding original certificates, were rejected after the trials. Eight applicants — Taekwondo (2), ball badminton (3), swimming (2) and one each in canoeing and kayaking — were also rejected on the basis of their performance in the trials for 2011.
“It is a clear-cut racket being run by some of the sports federations, who provide certificates to students, so that they can seek admission in professional courses under the sports quota,” says Gurmeet Singh.
The first step is to select the undeserving candidate in a team sport. During the championship that player will be put in the extras but he will be very much part of the squad and that entitles him for a participation certificate. If the team wins a medal he will get the certificate of merit. There have also been cases when a player competed in the championship under a different name, while the certificate was issued in a different name.
Last year, the president of the Netball Federation of India had registered an FIR against the officials of the Chandigarh Netball Association along with two players for participating with different names during the 29th and 30th national championships held in Rai, Sonepat, in 2012 and 2013.
“Few years back we got a number of complaints that some of the members of the Andhra Pradesh women skating hockey team did not know skating yet they had made it to the team after paying money so that the certificate could get them admission in the medical colleges,” said Roller Skating Federation of India’s referee Harpreet Singh. “Since 2008 nationals, we have been making every member of the team to skate before their matches and if somebody can’t skate well his or her name would be immediately struck down.”
“During the 2011 nationals held in Kurukshetra we struck down the name of a member of the Jammu and Kashmir women roller hockey team as she could not even walk on the skates. As she was a daughter of a minister she made it to the state team, but we didn’t allow her go further,” he added.