Sports

Dehydrated and without proper spikes, Kunwar’s 10,000m race ends in pain

- DHRUBA TULADHAR, Tulsipur (Dang)

Apr 19, 2019-

Donning yellow vest, black short and conspicuously a gold star shoes, the ninth-grader Saraswoti Kunwar ran energy and enthusiasm at the Beljhundi Stadium track on Thursday but her 10,000m race held under the eighth National Games was cut short after completing just 4 laps. Reason: she suffered muscle cramp.

She was destined for a disappointing end to her race even before the start for multiple reasons. In the first place she was completely unfit to compete in the race because she was suffering from diarrhoea. Secondly, she was forced to compete in the event which she never ran or trained for before Thursday. To add to her misery, she ran with ordinary shoes instead of a proper athletics spike.

Dehydration took a toll on Kunwar and she fell flat in pain clutching her thigh before the medical team attended her in the newly laid synthetic track. Kunwar hails for Phalebas in Parbat and was drafted into Gandaki Province team to compete in the 5,000m and 1,500m races. She had no prior experience of competing in greater distance than 5,000m.

She was thrust into the event as a last minute replacement for Soniya Baduwal. Gandaki had originally registered Baduwal and Dolmaya Mahato for the 10,000-metre race but the former pulled out prompting head coach Indra Malla bring in Kunwar for the race. Malla said the athlete’s coach from Parbat Jagadish Kunwar pressurized him to include her in 10,000m. “I told him (Kunwar) that she cannot compete in the event but I had to give in after intense pressure,” said Malla.

Kunwar understandably herself had a little say in the matter. “We all tried to convince her not to compete in 10,000m as it was really tough and demanding race. But she said she could do it,” said her Gandaki teammate Lalita Lamichhane, who is set to run in the 5,000, and 1,500m races.

Surprisingly, Kunwar defended his call to include the 15-year-old in the race. “I wanted her to race as she has potential to run the distance,” said the coach. “She was complaining of a mild abdominal pain and took a medicine as well. Inquired about her health yesterday (Wednesday), she said she was totally fine,” said Kunwar giving a good impression of how ill-informed he was in identifying fitness of a player. Kunwar also resorted to blaming the athlete’s health poor to arduous journey from Parbat as well as the intake of junk food during the trip.

For her part, Kunwar was carried away by the big occasion of competing in the National Games and accepting to run the race which was never meant for her. She was totally unaware that running while suffering from diarrhoea was madness. Kunwar can be forgiven for her ignorance but not her coaches. On top of that she was running in synthetic track for the first time in her career, and that too without a proper athletics spikes.

It exposes the organizers’ utter carelessness in implementing standard athletics norms that call for all athletes to wear professional spikes. Making an excuse, like the ones made by her Parbat coach, of weak financial background of the athlete’s family would be ridiculous. It was not the first instance of an athlete running without a proper spike. In the last edition in Itahari, the organizers allowed an athlete to run bare foot.

Provided she is fit, Kunwar is set to compete in the 5,000m race on Sunday where she will try to erase the bitter disappointment of the 10,000m race. Irrespective of how she performs in Nepalgunj, Kunwar hopes to establish herself in the game. Her dream is to join the Army club in the future.

Published: 19-04-2019 08:55

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