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Saturday, Dec 07, 2019

Madhya Pradesh’s ‘Bolt’s glory-race proves damp-squib, Cong-BJP dash stealing the show instead

Madhya Pradesh’s sprinter Rameshwar Gurjar has attracted attention of both Central and state governments after a video of his alleged 11-second 100-metres sprint went viral.

india Updated: Aug 19, 2019 17:48 IST
Ranjan/Shruti Tomar
Ranjan/Shruti Tomar
Ranjan/Shruti Tomar, Bhopal
Rameshwar Gurjar billed as future ‘Usain Bolt’ of MP came last in the trials held in Bhopal’s TT Nagar stadium
Rameshwar Gurjar billed as future ‘Usain Bolt’ of MP came last in the trials held in Bhopal’s TT Nagar stadium (HT Photo)

A sprinter, who stirred the imagination of the entire state of Madhya Pradesh with a viral video of his lightning-quick 100-metres run, finished last in a trial race ending hopes of a Usain Bolt like moment but has triggered a political race between the Congress and the BJP instead.

It all started when a video of 24-year old sprinter Rameshwar Gurjar in which he is seen racing 100 metres in 11 seconds, went viral turning him into an overnight sensation. His fame reached far and wide making both the Central and the state governments take notice.

A special trial race arranged at TT Nagar stadium in Bhopal that saw Gurjar finish last may have ended in disappointment for many but it surely started a political slug-fest between the Congress and the BJP over taking control of the sprinter’s grooming.

After Gurjar clocked a dismal 12.9 seconds to end last in the trial among seven athletes including a girl, Union sports minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted suggesting that the MP sprinter will be trained by Central sports academies. “He is exhausted due to the glare of publicity so couldn’t perform well. Will give proper time and training to him,” read Rijiju’s tweet.

However, MP sports minister Patwari said, “The sprinter will stay at the MP’s sports academy during which he will be trained with focus on his diet and weight. The next trial will be held after a month.”

The trial at Bhopal was held in presence of MP’s sports minister Jeetu Patwari, sports authorities of MP and Sports Authority of India (SAI) officials

The centre of all attraction, Rameshwar said he is used to running barefoot and his performance was affected since he wore shoes for the trial, “I had problem in running with shoes. Also, I had pain in my waist, he said.”

Rameshwar’s sprint into limelight was hastened when BJP national vice-president and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan tagged Rameshwar’s viral video in a tweet requesting assistance from Kiren Rijiju on August 16. Rjijiju promised to put him up at an academy and soon Sports Authority of India invited Rameshwar to join training at its Bhopal centre.

However, later, MP sports minister Jitu Patwari called Gurjar from his hometown Shivpuri and assured to provide him training at a state run facility to make him a better sprinter.

While a political race to turn Rameshwar Gujjar into a sprinting sensation may have begun, experts are not sure of the outcome.

“In the video, Rameshwar was seen running over a road and it is also not clear who had calculated the time and how. In a short distance like 100 metres, stop clock plays an important role because every second counts.” A Bhopal based athletics technical expert Varinder Singh said, adding, “As far as his performance in the trial is concerned, I doubt if can improve his performance at the age of 24.”