A torrential downpour had athletes scurrying towards the shelter of the Kanteerava Stadium on Thursday. They had just enough time to go through their daily rituals — warm-ups and stretchings — when the heavens opened and stalled their evening practice. As the track got soaked in puddles of water, the mercury dipped and it remained cool and pleasant all day long.
With temperatures expected to remain in the mid-20s for the next couple of days, a better show can be expected from some of the top Asian athletes who are competing in the Asian Grand Prix Series II.
Though more than 200 athletes have converged from all over Asia — India leading the charge with 78 athletes — what was disheartening was the postponement of the Indian Grand Prix by a day because of lack of entries in Pune, the scene of the first Indian GP. Strangely, even some track officials were unaware of the late development.
According to them, the federation took the decision late on Wednesday after assessing the first Pune Grand Prix on May 31. In Pune, around 60 athletes participated in the one-day event, whereas the Asian Grand Prix-I held a day later, saw more than 200 entries.
The Karnataka Athletic Association officials are now awaiting the Athletic Federation of India’s nod for holding the Indian GP alongside the Asian Grand Prix Series-II and the Asian Grand Prix Open on June 5.
In all likelihood, the two events that could be scraped from the Indian GP list are the 3000m steeplechase and the 5000m events, which saw a negligible turnout.
An official said that the decision to reschedule the Indian GP was taken to “get some competitive edge”. “We want our athletes to perform and their Asian counterparts will help them do that,” said the official.