Video: National-level athletes forced to sleep on train floor while returning from Junior National Championships
They were returning from Vijayawada and were forced to make the 30-hour journey without confirmed tickets.
What's the story?
In a stunning revelation, footage has emerged of junior athletes from Delhi, who participated in the Junior National Athletics Championships sitting crammed in a train and even sleeping on the floor on their return journey from Vijayawada, where the competition was being held.
A video posted on Facebook by discus thrower Pradeep Attri, highlights the sorry state of affairs, with athletes scattered around the compartment and features him asking athletes one-by-one about their situation.
When asked about the incident, Sandeep Mehta, the secretary of the Delhi Athletics Association, told Sportskeeda, "What can we do when the tournament gets postponed? We work with limited budgets and we can't keep booking tickets.''
He added, "The tournament was supposed to be held on November 19 and not November 16. The confusion occurred because of this and we didn't have the budget to book new tickets from Vijayawada again."
In case you didn't know
The Junior National Athletics Championships were held earlier from November 16-20 on Vijayawada, Karnataka. The journey from there to Delhi is a 30-hour one by train.
The heart of the matter
The video posted by Attri shows the athletes sitting on the train berths after 'adjusting' with other passengers on their seats and even on the train floor.
In the footage, a national-level high jumper is seen sitting on the top berth in the train, sharing it with another athlete, and he states that they have been forced to sit idle and uncomfortably like this.
Another sprinter slammed the authorities, saying that it is a record that athletes have never received confirmed seats for any nationals and highlighted how female athletes had been forced to sit sprawled across the coach.
The most disturbing scene features two athletes, who are dead tired from their competition, sleeping on the floor of the train and unable to respond to Attri's questions.
It remains to be seen how the authorities respond to this incident and whether any action is initiated against the parties involved.
It is yet another incident of athletes going through unfair trials and tribulations due to the mismanagement of the authorities. One hopes such incidents are not repeated again and the guilty officials are punished.