Medal ceremony strikes a sorry note

Karnataka maintained their stranglehold over the South Zone Aquatic Championships that concluded in Belagavi on Sunday but a discordant note was struck over the conduct of medal ceremonies for sprint events on the final afternoon. The medal presentation for the post-noon session races, which included 12 events in the 50M category, was held after the closing ceremony, that too after a protest, depriving the winners of their moment of public recognition, parent of one of the medal winners said.

“On conclusion of the events, the closing ceremony got under way at which the usual official speeches were made following which the individual and team championships were awarded. Thereafter, the closing ceremony concluded with the lowering of the Karnataka Swimming Association flag and the National Anthem was sung bringing the event to close,” Ranjan Kamath, father of one of the medal-winners, said, adding that after he raised a protest, an ad hoc prize distribution ceremony was held.

“Many of the winners were not even present as they thought the medal ceremony wouldn’t happen. The sprint events are the highlight of any meet anywhere in the world and it wasn’t proper to treat them in this fashion,” he said.

However, the tournament director Mohan Satish Kumar said it was the participating teams that had requested for an early finish. “They had buses and trains to catch and taking that into account, we decided to give away the medals after the closing ceremony. An announcement to that effect was made in this regard. This was planned in advance due to time constraints,” he said.

However, Kamath said no such announcement was made. “They did not announce anything of this sort. It was on my insistence that a medal ceremony was held after the close. You had one official standing there, handing out medals and certificates. They just made a farce of it,” he complained.

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