Renjith's poor show raises selection issues
His three fouls in the triple jump qualifying round in London has raised eyebrows over his selection.
New Delhi: Triple jumper Renjith Maheshwary's 'no mark' show at London Olympics is not a one-off incident as he had brought on himself the same ignominy at the World Championships in South Korea last year also.
His three fouls in the triple jump qualifying round in London on Tuesday has raised eyebrows over his selection in the mega events.
Failure at the big stage is not new to Indian athletes.
Top triple jumper in late 1960s and early 70s, Mohinder Singh Gill had three foul attempts in 1972 Munich Olympics while the country's lone World Championships medallist long jumper Anju Bobby George did the same in Beijing four years ago.
But in Renjith's case, what has given more credence to his unpreparedness for Olympics was that he was asked to prove his fitness before the Games as he had not competed anywhere since mid May.
One of the selection committee members, who wished not to be named, told PTI that Renjit was not fit to compete in the Olympics.
"He did not take part in any competition for more than two months after mid May. He was training in Italy without taking part in any competition. I had objected to his selection but the chief coach said that he is fine," the selection committee member of the Athletics Federation of India said.
"He (Renjith) was not physically and mentally fit to take part in the Olympics," he added.
It is learnt that when the AFI selection committee met on July 14 here, two government observers raised doubts about Renjith's fitness as well as of woman triple jumper Mayookha Johny.
Both the triple jumpers, along with marathon runner Ram Singh Yadav, were asked to prove their fitness. Yadav, who was undergoing training at the high-altitude Ooty, went to Coimbatore to prove his fitness by running a 10K race solo in front of qualified AFI technical officials.
However, both Renjith and Mayookha were in their training bases in Europe and hence the federation sought the fitness status from their coaches, who told that their wards were performing well in small competitions in Europe.
There were also stories doing the rounds that there was manipulation in Renjith's exact clearance of 16.85m, the 'B' qualifying standard for London Olympics during the Federation Cup in Patiala.
"He is more interested in going to places and enjoy himself like a tourist than seriously deliver any performance of worth," a veteran coach said on condition of anonymity.
Failures in athletics competitions in Olympics are common among Indians. Long time triple jump national record holder Mohinder Singh Gill was tipped to win a medal at Munich Olympics in 1972. However, he had three failed attempts and returned home empty-handed.
Ten years later woman long jumper Mercy Kuttan did a similar act in Brisbane at the 1982 Commonwealth Games.
Anju Bobby George, the only Indian woman to win a medal - a bronze - at the World championships in Paris in 2003, was the third popular athlete to join the 'three-foul-club' as she had three 'no marks' against her name in Beijing Olympics in 2008.