KOCHI: Only weeks have passed since Apheel Johnson died of serious injuries after a hammer accidentally fell on him during the Junior Athletic Meet held in Pala. However, it seems the authorities, who are responsible for the conduct of the Ernakulam Revenue District Sports meet being held at MA College ground at Kothamangalam, have not learnt anything from the incident.
On Sunday, Ivin Tomy of Elenthikara Higher Secondary School, North Paravur, who was taking part in the 3,000 m race, suffered a muscle cramps and was left writhing in pain for nearly 30 minutes before being taken to the hospital. In yet another incident that happened at the next ground where throwing events being held, a student-athlete, who fractured his leg, was made to walk the entire way to the ambulance since neither stretchers nor volunteers were available. “These are just a few cases. The entire sports meet is a huge mess,” said Ranjit Mathew, team manager of Elenthikara Higher Secondary School, North Paravur.
“At every sports meet, all the long-distance races are staged in the morning. The races start by 8 am and get over before the sun reaches its zenith. However, at Kothamangalm, when we reached there with our students, the organisers hadn’t even drawn the tracks,” he said. So, the races began as late as 10:30 am. “We come from North Paravur and had to start very early in the morning to make it to the venue for the 8 am races. So, the students didn’t have any breakfast. We were sure the organisers would have made arrangements to provide breakfast to kids. But to our surprise, no such arrangements were made,” said Mathew.
“The end result? Students participating in the long-distance races failed to perform. The adverse climate and lack of food caused muscle cramps,” he said. Even water was not provided, he added. “Also, we can’t understand the logic of conducting the meet on ‘Nabi dinam’. Due to this many Muslim students couldn’t participate,” said Ribin K A, a PE teacher.
According to Mercy Kuttan, president, Kerala State Sports Council, the venue lacked even basic provisions. “There were no facilities to cater to the medical needs of the students. Stretchers and volunteers were absent at the venue. All this led to delayed medical attention to the injured athletes”.