Merlin's record under scanner

 Merlin Joseph's national record in the women's 100M, set at the Open Nationals in Ranchi on Sunday, has been questioned by Rachita Mistry, the previous holder of the mark.

Merlin ran 11.35 seconds in the semifinal to shatter Mistry's record of 11.38 created in Thiruvananthapuram in 2000. Merlin had a personal best of 11.75 before the race.Merlin then ran a 11.95 in the final to finish third.

Mistry, an Olympian and a top sprinter of 1990s, said she suspected either a faulty timing system or some people playing mischief could be responsible for the ‘spectacular’ performance. She has written a letter to the AFI to find out the correct position. 

"It's unbelievable if you see the big gap in the three timings. She (Merlin) clocked 12.07 in the first round and then out of the blue ran 11.35 in the semifinal. Then again she clocked 11.95 in the final to finish third," Mistry told PTI from Mumbai. 

"A gap of 0.72 secs between first round and semifinal is a huge one and it's the 100 dash and not a marathon. Then she ran 11.95 in the final. I agree she ran the final one hour after semifinal and she must be a bit tired. But still, a difference of 0.6 secs is a huge one and I don't believe this," she said. 

"Either the timing system is faulty or otherwise somebody was doing that intentionally. I have written to the AFI to find out the correct position," she added. A senior AFI official also said it was certain something must have gone wrong during the competition. 

"There must be something wrong in the starting sensor or the photo finish equipment," he added. 

AFI Secretary C K Valson, who is in Ranchi for the Championships, said he was looking into the issue. 

"We have got the letter from Mistry and we are looking into it. We will look into the details like the photo finish timing of the semifinals and other things," he said. 

No consistency

Explaining why she was questioning Merlin's timing, Mistry, who is a Railways employee, said unlike that of Merlin, there was no inconsistency in the timings of the other two medal winners -- Dutee Chand (gold) and H M Jyothi (silver). 

"Dutee clocked 11.72 secs in first round heat and then had 11.73 secs in semifinal heats and clocked 11.73 secs in the final. Jyothi had 11.98 secs, 11.81 and 11.87secs and all these are consistent and acceptable," she said. 

Mistry said that she has no personal issues with Merlin but felt that there should be a transparent process in recording national marks. 

"I have no issues with Merlin and it is not a personal issue. I will congratulate her if it is proved thta she had shattered my national record in a legitimate way. But I feel there is something wrong in the whole thing," she said. 

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