National pole vault record holder VS Sureka could not hide her disappointment after returning a sub-par performance in the final trials for the Doha Asiads in New Delhi on Saturday.
After her third attempt, which was just four metres, she was too downcast to say anything, only muttering that: “I think I will quit.”
Her showing on Saturday may well spell omission from the Games squad, as Athletic Federation of India secretary Lalit Bhanot said that AFI had set 4.20 metres as qualifying mark. “Her previous performance (in Patiala) would be taken into consideration,” he said.
Her coach PS Tyagi blamed the poor show on lack of preparation and the bad quality of the pole with which Sureka has been training for six months.
“The most important component in the sport has been neglected by AFI. The federation has failed to provide Sureka with new poles despite repeated requests.
The poles she is currently using are old and too loose for her. We had asked the AFI for new poles six months ago. We had been looking at the best poles available, but they are very expensive... the federation should foot the bill.”
However, Bhanot said, “We have given them whatever they have asked for. Just because Sureka could not perform up to the mark, she is making excuses.”
On her performance, Sureka said, “The pole was ‘loose’. I had to lower my grip to jump; despite that I could not clear 4.10 metres. Besides, I was told about the trials only yesterday.”
The pole-vaulters had been told there would be no more trials and Sureka had gone for a 10-day vacation. “I was not prepared,” she said.
Hammer thrower Hardeep Kaur, who threw to 58.82m, also said she was informed only a day in advance.