New Delhi, April 25: While the country was debating the appointment of Salman Khan as the brand ambassador for Indian contingent in Rio Olympics, the athletes who came with huge aspirations at Delhi’s Indian Grand Prix were left disappointed. The manner in which the hopeful athletes were treated was nothing short of a mockery of their hard work. For months, the sprinters had been strenuously preparing for this day. However, what was supposed to be the judgment day of their talent, resulted into a joke. Also Read - PV Sindhu Reveals Turning Point of Her Career, Says Beating Olympic Champion Li Xuerui Gave me Confidence

A nation which aspires to be a superpower by 2020, could not arrange the required infrastructure and associated amenities for the athletes. The runners were made to sprint, despite no power supply at the Indian Grand Prix. Based on the manual recordings, it was found that Amiya Kumar Mallick won the qualifying competition by completing 100 metres in 10.09 seconds. If the record is considered to be accurate then Mallick would had qualified for the Olympic Event in Rio De Janeiro as the qualification timing was stated to be 10.16 seconds by the International Association of Athletics (IAA). But, the irony is that IAA does not recognize manual recordings. Also Read - Coronavirus Pandemic: Indian Grand Prix to be Held Behind Closed Doors

Instead of expressing collective guilt over the apathy shown towards the athletes, Centre and State authorities have begun playing the blame-game. Athletics Federation of India has blamed the Delhi State Federation for the faux pas, whereas, the latter held its parent authority responsible for not taking the adequate measures. (ALSO READ: Power failure at Delhi athletics meet costs aspirants berth in Rio Olympics) Also Read - Eyeing Olympic Gold in Tokyo 2020 Next Year, PV Sindhu Makes Space in Cabinet For Top Honour

The fiasco in Delhi today also highlights the lack of seriousness towards India’s soft power by successive governments. Just how serious is the government on pushing it’s sports agenda can be gauged from the fact that it could not even ensure power supply to the event meant to choose Indian athletes for the Rio Olympics.

While, Centre pays lip service to sports agenda, it has failed to improve the pathetic situation which it inherited from the UPA. Union Minister for Sports, Sarbananda Sonowal was busy campaigning in Assam (where is projected as CM candidate) at a time when the sporting authorities were making preparations for Olympic qualifications.

This would be a tough day for all those sprinters who were preparing since the past 12-18 months to represent their nation in the Rio Olympics. Most importantly, as a nation, every Indian owes an apology to Amiya Kumar Mallick, who would have qualified for Rio and might had brought medals back home. It is such a shame that when other countries are leaving no stone unturned to promote sports, Indian athletes have to undergo so much more in addition to the training to represent their country. Time to hang our heads in shame!