AMATEURISH BEHAVIOUR on part of the Athletic Federation of India (AFI) came to the fore yet again during the 47th National Open Athletics Championships, which got underway at JRD Tata Sports Complex on Tuesday.
The prestigious competition, the last domestic meet in the Indian athletic calendar and billed as the selection trial for the team for the Asian Indoor meet at Macau later this month, had neither the wind gauge nor photo finish cameras in place on the opening day.
AFI joint secretary and technical director of the competition, Dr Kripal Singh, admitted of the faux pas. "AFI has a contract with a Delhi-based firm for installing the wind gauge and photo finish cameras for every meet. The firm was ignorant of the change in schedule of the competition and the instruments would be in place from Wednesday," said Dr Singh.
He informed the meet was scheduled from October 24 but was advanced by the Jharkhand Athletic Association (JAA) and "perhaps" the contracted firm was unaware of the changed itinerary.
The official also washed his hands of the episode by saying, "I am not sure if the AFI had informed the contracted firm about the change in advance. The electronic timer installed at the ground was brought by me from the World Military Games at Hyderabad."
JAA president Madhukant Pathak, however, claimed that the AFI was informed well in advance about the changed itinerary.
The second instance of amateurism on part of the organisers was the absence of athletes during the oath-taking ceremony. As per AFI norms, it is mandatory for athletes to be present during the ceremony. On Tuesday evening, most of the athletes were either cooling their heels in the hotels or sitting in the sports complex instead of standing behind their flag bearers. Athletes found violating this norm are liable to be penalised by the AFI.