In a shocking incident, Indian women cyclists, including track event podium finisher Manorama Devi, were made to carry medal trays for felicitations to other winning riders in the road race competitions of the Asian Cycling Championships which began here today.
The medal trays which are usually carried by ceremonial staff were carried by the Indian trio of Manorama, Sunita Devi and Anjana.
Manorama had won a silver medal in Keirin race at the track events which were held at the IG Velodrome before the action shifted at the Buddha International Circuit here for road races. Sunita took part in the women's elite individual time trial event today.
Shockingly, the Cycling Federation of India defended the decision to put these girls on duty for felicitation ceremony.
"It's no way demeaning the girls. It's an innovative way of felicitation. Giving a medal to an Asian champion is an honour," organising secretary of Asian Championship Onkar Singh said.
"It also conveys a mark of respect for a better cyclist. We used to do it in our college events," he said.
In another incident, the gold medal-winning cyclists were deprived of a proud moment of listening to their national anthem with the rising of their country' flag as both systems were not in place at the Formula One circuit.
The organisers did try an innovative way of playing the anthem on a laptop and transmitting it to the speakers through a walkie talkie. But the makeshift arrangement obviously did not work.
"We did try to play it (anthems) somehow. But, there was no sound system in place. It's a Formula One track so it did not have a facility where flags could be displayed. These things will be put in order by tomorrow," Singh said.