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Indian Pole Vault Star Pavithra Venkatesh forced to quit Asian Championships

Indian pole vault star Pavithra Venkatesh sidelined at Asian championships due to logistical hurdles, while Jyothi Yarraji and Tajinderpal Singh Toor shine with gold medal performances.

Indian Pole Vault Star Pavithra Venkatesh forced to quit Asian Championships

Pavithra Venkatesh (Source: Athletics Federation of India)


The Bridge Desk

Published: 18 Feb 2024 7:05 AM GMT

Indian pole vaulter Pavithra Venkatesh, who clinched the silver medal at last year's Asian indoor athletics championships, has been forced to sit out this year's edition in Tehran. The setback came after her return from New Delhi last Saturday, where efforts by the Athletics Federation of India to transport her poles via cargo proved futile.

Pavithra's ordeal, along with that of National Games champion Baranica Elangovan, unfolded at Delhi airport last Thursday. Their airline refused to permit their equipment in checked baggage, leaving them stranded and scrambling for alternatives.

Despite fervent attempts by officials, the poles failed to reach Tehran in time for the competition scheduled for Monday. Consequently, Pavithra made the tough decision to return to her hometown in Salem, while Baranica resolved to compete with a borrowed pole in her debut appearance.

Sources close to the matter expressed frustration, pointing fingers at the Federation's operations team for the oversight. They highlighted a similar incident during last June's Asian Junior meet, indicating a lack of learning from past mistakes. With Baranica's chances hanging by a thread, Pavithra must now wait until the SAF Games in India later this year for another shot at glory.

Despite the setback, optimism prevails regarding Pavithra's future prospects. At 22 years old, she is seen as a contender for the 2028 Olympics, given adequate support from the Federation and corporate sponsors.

Meanwhile, in other championship news, Indian athletes Jyothi Yarraji and Tajinderpal Singh Toor secured gold medals in their respective events. Jyothi set a new national record in the women's 60m hurdles with a time of 8.12s, while Toor continued his dominance in shot put, claiming gold with a throw of 19.72m.

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