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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Haryana impersonated alleges Anju George ~ 14th National Youth Athletics Championship 2017

In Big bash league, in the commentary box, former Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds tried impersonating the  Yorkshire accent of  former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott.  Those following Chennai local league, (especially Triplicanites) would have heard this story.  There was this local team trying to break into the lower division league.  In the all important match, with the team chasing, their ace batsman got out scoring little opening the innings.  Hearsay stories put that, he went to a nearby saloon, had his head tonsured and came to bat again ! impersonating another .. .. ..

At Nelson Mandela’s funeral with top old leaders assembled including US president Barack Obama and president Jacob Zuma, person named  Thamasanqa Jantjie stood on stage and translated eulogies from world leaders with  series of hand signals – which were later revealed to be nothing and the man a fake.  He later  blamed his behaviour on a schizophrenic episode, saying he lost concentration, started hearing voices and hallucinating.  Deaf groups responded immediately, saying he made no sense in any language and did not seem to know the recognised signs for South Africa, Mr Mandela’s clan name Madiba, President Jacob Zuma or former President Thabo Mbeki.

Now read this story of impersonation accusation as it appeared in The Indian Express, Chennai edition.

With the sun setting on the 14th National Youth Athletics Championship,  overall victors Haryana were expected to walk off into the sunset. Instead, the 50-odd contingent will be worried after one of their male athletes was accused of impersonation by former World Championship bronze medallist Anju Bobby George and the Kerala team. In Anju’s words, the incident took place during the medley relay event on the third and final day. “After finishing one of the laps, one of the boys just kept running and went out of the scene and didn’t come back,” she told Express.

Haryana claimed gold in the event but the former Olympian alleged that it was not the same boy who had run the race. “I’m 100 per cent sure that it was not the same person.” As soon as the race ended, the former long jumper set out to locate the mystery boy. When the Haryana camp presented the said participant in front of her, she refused to accept him as the same competitor. “The pictures clearly show that he was wearing a wrist band and necklace while running.

Where did all of that suddenly disappear? The boy in the picture looks quite muscular too. We are always vigilant about malpractice but these keep happening,” Anju, who was present at GMC Balayogi Athletics Stadium as an AFI observer, said. The athlete in question said that his mother had given the bands to wear during the race. “I removed it after the race. My teammates know that I am the one,” he told in his defence. Kerala team coach Rajeevan K cited the team photographer as the person who spotted the incident. “He found about it while looking at the photographs,” Rajeevan said.

An Athletics Federation of India representative lodged Kerala’s complaint and said that due diligence would be done. Anju also lamented the fact that there is huge gap between senior and youth-level athletes.“Youth athletes have a tough time assembling for camps because of their studies and this needs to be addressed urgently. My academy in Bengaluru has tied up with Sports Authority of India and we are taking care of the athletes’ studies as well,” Anju said, while hinting that the process of approaching the Court of Arbitration for Sports to claim her Athens Olympics medal in long jump is also underway.

Anju Bobby George made history when she won the bronze medal in Long Jump at the 2003 World Championships in Athletics in Paris. With this achievement, she became the first Indian athlete ever to win a medal in a World Championships in Athletics jumping 6.70 m. She went on to win the Gold medal at the IAAF World Athletics Final in 2005, a performance she considers her best. Anju was upgraded to gold status from silver in the 2005 World Athletics Final in Monte Carlo following the disqualification of Tatyana Kotova of Russia by the International Association of Athletics Federations, following the recent re-testing of the latter’s sample collected at the 2005 World Championship in Helsinki. She was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2002.

She perhaps was denied her rightful fame – years after the Athens Olympics 2004, Anju Bobby George and two other athletes — Australia's Bronwyn Thompson and Britain’s Jade Johnson —  made a bid to claim the long jump medals the trio believes were "stolen" from them by dope cheats.Even though the medallists in the women's long jump event at Athens — Tatyana Lebedeva (gold), Irina Simagina (silver) and Tatyana Kotova (bronze) — passed the dope tests at the time, they have subsequently failed tests in other competitions. That, and the revelations of state sponsored doping coming out of Russia in recent months, have led Anju, Thompson and Johnson to believe that foul play was afoot during the 2004 Games.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

24th Apr 2017

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