It was a day of embarrassment for holder Ernakulam as the rivalry between its two key schools — St. George Higher Secondary School and Mar Basil Higher Secondary School — ended with the champion district being docked as many as 32 points of its overall points tally at the 56th State schools athletics meet at the University stadium here on Thursday.

It was a grave which was dug up by the two schools themselves as they once again let the rivalry out into the open.

The consequent penalty in the final run could now possibly end Ernakulam’s long reign as the undisputed champion district at the State schools level.

Ernakulam has been the winner of the overall title through the last eight years ever since the format of the meet was changed to district level from the previous educational district level.

The day had also panned well it as Ernakulam was able to overcome the tally of Palakkad, the leader of the pack through the first two days, midway through the hectic third day.

However, it was at this stage that the meet manager, Chacko Joseph, came up with the result of the protests filed by the two schools, accusing each other of having fielded over-aged athletes in the sub-junior boys’ category.

The protests were lodged on Wednesday which the organisers had promptly referred to a medical board, which was asked to determine the age of the four athletes under the scanner.

In response to the findings of the board, Chacko Joseph, in a statement said that three athletes, two of Mar Basil and one of St. George, have been found over-aged and they were being disqualified straightaway.

The athletes who were found guilty of age-fraud were identified as Lenin Joseph and Shalu Prahaladan (both Mar Basil) and Mohammed Sahinoor (St. George).

Lenin Joseph had already won three medals in the high jump (gold), discus throw (silver) and shot put (bronze) while Shalu was the winner of the silver in girls’ shot put on the opening day.

The disqualification of the duo cost Mar Basil 12 points while Sahinoor’s winning effort in the 100m and 80m hurdles were both scrapped to leave St. George 10 points less.

The Ernakulam quartet, including Sahinoor, that had won the 4x100m relay was also disqualified causing a further loss of 10 points.

There was much mud-slinging as soon as organisers’ statement came out, with both parties accusing each other of sabotaging their attempts to win the Best School award.

Considering the effort and pain taken through the years by both schools in helping Kerala athletics to stay in the forefront on the national scene, it is a sad story.

  • It is docked 32 points of its overall points

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