Rahul Sakpal, 21, whose second attempt at the police recruitment test led to his death on Saturday, had given up eating rice to stay fit and had dedicated practice sessions every morning and evening since months, his friend and fellow runner told HT.
“Sakpal was academically bright and wanted to crack the civil services exams. Since the state police recruitment was underway, he decided to give it a try and test himself. He was ambitious and decided to stop eating rice, and would practice for hours twice a day,” said Abhishek Patil, who was one of the three runners accompanying Sakpal when he collapsed.
His friends said Sakpal completed the 5-km run even after he felt dizzy and earned 10 marks instead of the 20 because he took four minutes more than the stipulated time.
“This was the first time that a recruitment drive was held in scotching summer, otherwise it is conducted only in rains or winters. Since it is a norm of not conducting running tests in afternoons, we had prepared accordingly. This was Sakpal’s second attempt,” added Patil.
On the day of the test, Sakpal and his friends had been called to the venue at 7am. However, their turn to run arrived only after the noon. Since Sakpal had to run, he avoided eating, which proved fatal.
While undergoing treatment, Sakpal gained consciousness on Friday evening; however, he could not speak and asked for a paper and pen. He wrote his mother’s name, who was then called to meet him in the ICU. The family however thought he would recover and return home soon.
Sakpal is survived by parents and two elder sisters, one of whom is married. “The family is economically weak, his father is employed with the BEST as a driver. The family was planning the marriage of the second daughter as Sakpal had just appeared for his TYBcom examinations.
Sakpal got 68 out of 100 marks in physical test and was to appear for written test,” his friend said.
The intense heat and poor amenities available took their toll on aspirants, with many seens collapsing while completing the 5-km run, a compulsory part of the physical fitness test. (Right) The kin of Rahul Sakpal are inconsolable (Praful Gangurde/HT Photo)