Missing pole vault apparatus at JLN forces aspiring athletes to consider quitting the sport

The country’s premier athletics venue, the Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, has been without a permanent pole vault device for more than six months. This forced the athletes to train in the long jump pit, the makeshift arrangement responsible for several twisted ankles and knees. Some of the capital’s pole vaulters are considering giving up the sport, others are facing a sudden drop in performance.

2019 Delhi State medalist Devraj was unable to land a single legal jump at last month’s National Open Championships in Warangal. “I could do 4.80m earlier, but now I can’t even do a good jump anymore. With great difficulty, I was able to get some sticks, but what will I do without a pit? I plan to sell them, ”says Devraj.

The ISC, in a statement to the Indian Express, said the discipline of pole vault was “moved” to Bangalore in December where the NCOE (National Center of Excellence) will operate. “The pole vault equipment integrated into the NCOE (National Center of Excellence) pole vault moved to a new location in December 2020 and all pole vault facilities are available in Bangalore,” the statement said. .

The stadium authorities have locked the existing “unfit” pits in the reserve. For the recent National Under-23 Championships, the Indian Army came to the rescue by ensuring that the pole vault event was not abandoned, as was the case at the state meeting. of Delhi organized a few weeks ago at the same place.

“The Rajputana Rifles loaned us the pole vault pits. They brought it in their army trucks and took it back after the event, ”said an official.

SAI further stated that “the issue of new pits” for the competitions was “deliberate”. This means that the pole vault test at the stadium is unlikely to end soon.

“We haven’t had a pit for over six months now. I’m sick of chasing stadium officials. What hurts me more than the lack of a chasm is the condescending tone with which some directors speak to us. Do you want to know why India is not winning as many medals as it should? It’s because of administrators like these, ”said a dispirited Delhi state medalist.

On Monday, a group of frustrated pole vaulters contacted Administrator Satyadev Prasad’s office to request an update on the matter, only to be told that “there is little he could do.” Prasad declined to comment on the matter.

Athletes say moving the facility to Bangalore would not help them.

” I just started. How can you expect me to leave my house and go to Bangalore? I’m not even part of the NCOE. What will the young voltigeurs of Delhi do? You can’t expect everyone to move to a new city, ”says Rahul, 17 (name changed).

Rahul came to JLN with high hopes. Back at his school, using a bamboo stick as a pole and haystacks as a pit, he managed to cross the 3m mark. He thought that at JLN he might try his first time at a real pit, but he remained dejected. “I can’t believe the best stadium in the country doesn’t have a pole vault pit. I still can’t, ”says Rahul.

Those currently training in the long jump pit fear injury. “Our knees were aching and a few days ago my ankle twisted. But what can we do? Our performance has also declined. If things don’t change, I’ll have to give up, ”says a young outfielder on condition of anonymity.