Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: The focus will once again be on the juniors as the 21st edition of the Karnataka State junior and senior athletics championship gets underway at the SAI South Centre campus at Kengeri from Friday. But the newly formed Bangalore Urban District Athletic Association (BUDAA) has its hands full with nearly 220 events to be completed in the three days.

The juniors also have the incentive of a berth in the State team for the South Zone event at Kochi in August. But one wonders if this is the ideal setting for the cream of junior talent in the state.

It’s after nearly eight months that the juniors are in a competition. With the Sree Kanteerava stadium tracks being relaid most of the juniors — like medal hopes at the international level, Nirupama Sunderraj and many others — had to train elsewhere, what with SAI too closing the doors on an optional session there.

Most of the juniors from Alva’s Moodbidri and Dakshina Kannada will be there, said Satyanarayana, the KAA secretary on the eve of the meet. Poovamma, however, is away in training in South Africa training along with the Indian contingent.

The organising Association claims to have nearly 1200 participants in the four junior categories — under-14, under-16, under-18 and under-20, and senior men and women, put together. But the actual entry list shows much poorer turn-out.

Also, given the weather conditions, not much can be expected in terms of performance, even if the organisers are optimistic about going through the events in the three days.

“There are two grounds there at the SAI and one can be used for throws and such to complete the schedule. The seniors, as has been the norm in the last few years, have barely 150-odd entries (both men and women put together) and their events have been tagged along with the junior events,” said a BUDAA official.

“SAI’s permission came only at the last moment. They contended that the National campers would be affected. But, with the top Indian athletes training elsewhere of late, the permission was granted. Also, there is no way the event could have been taken to other districts due to heavy rains in (Shimoga, Dakshin Kannada etc.)” said Satyanarayana.

It’s not only the athletes but the technical officials, the recording section and the media too that will have to bear the brunt of the load.

But does the parent association care?

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