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Her Asian Games dream stuck amid row over domicile

Renu, a triple jumper who brought laurels for Punjab by winning medals in athletics at different platforms, never knew that her dreams will be short-lived as the Punjab Athletics Association (PAA) didn’t recommend her name to the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), ‘because of her domicile’.

punjab Updated: Jul 07, 2018 12:32 IST
Amarpal Singh
Amarpal Singh
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
Asian Games,domicile,triple jumper
Triple Jumper Renu was born in Haryana but started playing for Punjab after taking admission in Punjab Institute of Sports in 2015.(HT Photo )

She was born in Haryana and started playing for Punjab after taking admission in Punjab Institute of Sports in 2015. However, 19-year-old Renu, a triple jumper who brought laurels for Punjab by winning medals in athletics at different platforms, never knew that her dreams will be short-lived as the Punjab Athletics Association (PAA) didn’t recommend her name to the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), ‘because of her domicile’.

The AFI is the authority who finalises the list of players for their participation in athletics events in Asian Games, the 2018 edition of which will be held in Jakarta.

Renu had jumped 13.9 metres during the selection trials held at Sangrur in June against the 13.75-metre qualifying mark for Asian Games. However, the PAA didn’t recommend her name for the senior inter state national athletics championship, which was conducted at Guwahati for the final selection of players for the Asian Games.

Renu claimed she will definitely earn a medal for the country if given a chance. “I believe I can jump 14 metres or higher in the games. In the last Asian Games in 2014, the top three jumps were 14.32 metres, 14.05 metres and 13.77 metres,” said Renu, who had remained a national record holder during the junior national athletics championship held at Vijyawada (Andhra Pradesh) in November 2017, by leaping 13.45 metres in triple jump.

Domicile an issue

Hailing from Mandhana village in Haryana, Renu has been residing in Ludhiana and pursuing Bachelors of Arts from Khalsa College for Women.

However, her domicile became a bone of contention between sports associations of the two states.

“When Renu went to participate at the junior championship held at Vijyawada, she represented Haryana instead of Punjab. This led to a dispute between the associations of both the states,” said PAA secretary KPS Brar. “The player was required to give her confirmation but we did not receive the same,” he said.

“The association did not received the verification documents such as Aadhaar card from the player. The selection committee had waited till June 12, but there was no confirmation from the player regarding her participation,” Brar said.

“Earlier, whenever the player had bagged medal for Punjab, the state government had honoured her with cash award,” Brar said.

Authority’s concern

Brar said many players of states like Rajasthan and Haryana are getting training in Punjab, but at the time of participating, they represent other states because the respective governments give more cash rewards.

“The Punjab government should change the policy and allow only Punjab-based players to get training here,” Brar said.

Coach vouches for calibre

Meanwhile, SS Pannu, under whose guidance Renu has been practising at Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana said the girl can do wonders. “She has been focusing on Asian Games for the past one year. She has work hard and proved her mettle. She should be given a chance,” he said.

First Published: Jul 07, 2018 12:30 IST