September 9, 2000
Aloysious, Anil Kumar, relay team fail to qualify
The reason for the Nike-Salwan international athletics meet 2000 in Delhi on Saturday was to confirm a passage to the Sydney Games for those from Indian athletics who were still striving to reach the qualifying Olympic 'B' mark.
On trial were the two gold medallists of the recent Asian Track and Field meet in Jakarta - - Bobby Aloysious and Anil Kumar - - and the men's 4x100 metres relay team.
Aloysious had won the high jump event in Jakarta, scaling 1.85 metres on her first jump after she and Khazak girl Marina Korzhova had tied on the same height. Korzhova, however, had scaled 1.85 metres on her third attempt, and Aloysious won the gold on the countback. For Aloysious, the magic mark, though, for qualification to Sydney was 1.88 metres.
She had cleared 1.86 metres at a meet in Malaysia earlier in the season. At Bangalore she had asked for the bar to be placed at 1.88 metres. "I thought I had cleared that height," she told this correspondent, adding "after clearing 1.84 metres I asked for the bar to be raised by four cms."
She emphatically adds: "I cleared that height. Later on they adjudged that I had cleared only 1.85 metres."
In effect the bar had been raised by only a centimetre whereas Aloysious thought she had scaled 1.88 metres. Therein lay the rub.
At the Nike-Salwan meet on Saturday, she was the lone entrant for the high jump event. Only if she cleared 1.88 metres she would be included in the athletics squad for the Sydney Games.
Aloysious said she was informed of her entry to the meet only on Friday night, and as she was in no frame of mind to test herself to the hilt, she refused to participate alone. Thus, she lost her chance to make the team to Sydney.
Anil Kumar, who like Aloysious had won gold at Jakarta in the ATF meet, too had a mountain to climb. The Olympic 'B' qualifying mark for the men's discus is 62.0 metres. He cleared 58.47 metres at Jakarta which was enough to fetch him the gold medal. This year he had come tantalizingly near the mark by heaving the discuss to 61.20 metres. However, in Delhi on Saturday, he was well below par with a throw of 56.67 metres. That was only enough to get him on the winners' podium but not on the flight to Sydney.
The men's 4x100 metres relay team broke the national mark by a long way, clocking 39.28 seconds, as against the national best of 40.14 seconds set at Islamabad in 1989, just as they had clocked 39.40 seconds for their fourth placing at the Jakarta meet on August 31. However, on Saturday they also broke the rule of not keeping to their lane, and so were disqualified. They were placed in lane four but the second and third runners strayed into lane three and two respectively though the last runner finished in lane four. That error proved costly and denied them a ticket to Sydney.
As things transpired, none of the Sydney-bound aspirants could fulfil their objective and, as such, the purpose of the meet was defeated.
Mail Sports Editor
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