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Power Failure Costs Indian Athletes Rio Olympics Berths: report

Representative image of a runner wearing the spikes. (Reuters)

Representative image of a runner wearing the spikes. (Reuters)

Three athletes broke national records and two even clocked timing good enough for Rio qualification but power failure at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium in Delhi forced manual recording that is not valid as per IAAF norms.

India paid dearly for its carelessness when a power failure cost the country's runners qualification for the Rio Olympics later this year.

The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the national capital hosted the Indian Grand Prix on Sunday, but the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the Delhi State Athletics Association (DSAA) weren't on the same page, which left the venue with no back-up power - as reported by dna.

According to the newspaper, the event started with a sudden power failure and despite having generators installed at the venue, the staff to operate those was not on duty due to their day-off on a Sunday.

This forced the officials to do manual recording of timings that is not considered valid by the International Association of Athletics (IAAF). And it robbed the event of its status as an Olympic qualifier.

The lapse took grave proportions when the news of national records being broken in the men's 100m, 400m and women's 100m filtered in.

Srabani Nanda of Odisha not only created a national record but also met the Olympics qualifying mark clocking 11.23 seconds. Srabani's fellow runner from Odisha, Amiya Malik, also did the double of national record and Rio qualification timing with 10.09 seconds in the men's 100m.

But all that was to no avail as the disgruntled athletes learned that their effort won't be considered valid by IAAF.

"The fault lies with SAI because a full amount of Rs 5 lakh was paid in advance for the event," a DSAA official told dna. But that was vehemently denied by SAI stadia in-charge Kapil Kaul. "Neither DSAA paid us for any power back-up at the time of booking nor arranged for its own generators," Kaul said.

But the whole sorry saga affects only the athletes, who strive and train hard for four years to get the elusive ticket to Olympics.