This image is being used here for representation purpose only – as a general depiction of mountain landscape – and is not indicative of the places mentioned in the article alongside. Photo: Shyam G Menon

More peaks opened up for trekking and climbing in Uttarakhand

The Uttarakhand government has added 30 more peaks and 10 high altitude treks (trekking peaks) to the list of objectives available for trekking and mountaineering in the state.

According to news reports, only 12 teams with 10 members each can attempt any of the peaks in the new list, twice a year. Further, to ensure that non-biodegradable waste does not litter these high-altitude areas, the teams will have to make a security deposit, which is returnable on the condition that they bring back all such waste. In its report, Times of India, quoting a senior government official said that the mountaineering and trekking activities will be done in league with local eco-development committees.

The addition of these peaks to the existing list of mountains available for climbing and high-altitude trekking is expected to give a push to adventure tourism in the state, the media reports said.

The 10 new trekking peaks are Bhagnyu, Lamchir, Lamchir South, Nar Parbat, Narayan Parbat, Nanda Lapak, Ratangarian, Yan Buk, Mahalay Parbat and Pawagarh.

A senior mountaineer pointed out that the 30 new peaks offered for mountaineering also include three – Devistan I, Devistan II and Rishi Kot – whose routes are described as “ inside Nanda Devi sanctuary’’ in the list. The routes are via the Nanda Devi National Park and the relevant check point is Lata. The Nanda Devi sanctuary was declared off-limits to locals and climbers in 1983. The Nanda Devi National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

2022 CWG / Gold for Jessica Stenson in women’s marathon

Jessica Stenson of Australia won gold in the women’s marathon at the 2022 Commonwealth Games (CWG) in Birmingham, UK. She covered the distance in two hours, 27 minutes and 31 seconds. Silver went to Margaret Wangari Muriuki of Kenya (2:28:00). Defending champion, Helalia Johannes of Namibia (2:28:39) had to settle for bronze. There were 16 runners in the fray.

This image was downloaded from the Facebook page of the 2022 CWG and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended.

Neeraj Chopra to miss 2022 Commonwealth Games

Neeraj Chopra, Olympic champion in javelin throw and silver medallist this month (July) at the 2022 World Athletics Championship, has withdrawn from the upcoming Commonwealth Games (CWG) due to injury.

“ Chopra, the defending CWG champion, had injured his groin during the World Championship final in Eugene, USA, on Saturday. He underwent a MRI scan the following day and was subsequently advised one-month rest by the doctors, according to Rajeev Mehta, the secretary-general of the Indian Olympic Association,” the Indian Express reported.

Neearj, 24, was to be India’s flagbearer at the event in Birmingham, UK. The report said a decision on the new flagbearer would be taken soon.

With Neeraj unavailable, India will be represented in the javelin throw competition at CWG by D. P. Manu and Rohit Yadav. They will be up against a strong field that includes world champion Anderson Peters of Grenada.

Venue of the 2022 World Athletics Championship. This image was downloaded from the Facebook page of World Athletics and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended.

Eldhose Paul becomes first Indian to reach the triple jump final at World Athletics Championship

Eldhose Paul became the first athlete from India to qualify for the triple jump final at the world athletics championship. At the 2022 edition of the event in Eugene, Oregon, USA, the 25-year-old jumped 16.68m to qualify for the final.

Those who cleared 17.05m or featured in the 12 best jumps in the qualifying round spread over two groups, were eligible for the final. In the qualification round, Paul placed twelfth overall. As reported in the media, Paul works for the Indian Navy and hails from Ernakulam in Kerala. According to data available on the website of World Athletics, his personal best is 16.99m, achieved in April 2022.

Morocco’s El Bakkali treats himself to steeplechase world title; Sable finishes eleventh

Reigning Olympic champion Soufiane El Bakkali of Morocco lapped up the title of world champion, winning the 3000m steeplechase final in a time of eight minutes, 25.13 seconds, at the 2022 World Athletics Championship. Lamecha Girma of Ethiopia (8:26.01) took silver and Conseslus Kipruto of Kenya (8:27.92), the bronze.

The race, keenly awaited in India owing to the presence of Avinash Sable in the field, saw the Indian athlete finishing eleventh with a time of 8:31.75. Sable’s time was well short of the 8:12.48, he set at an international meet in Rabat, Morocco, in June 2022. It must however be remembered that such measurements in athletics are influenced by conditions on the field, including how a race unfolds in accordance with the pacing and strategies of the race leaders. For instance, El Bakkali’s time in his gold medal winning performance at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, was 8:08.90. The world record in the men’s steeplechase is 7:53.63, set by Qatar’s Saif Saaeed Shahin (formerly Stephen Cherono of Kenya) in 2004.

Sreeshankar finishes seventh in long jump final

Parul Chaudhary sets new personal best

India’s Murali Sreeshankar, who had earlier become the first Indian athlete to qualify for the final in the men’s long jump event at a world championships, finished seventh in the final at the 2022 World Athletics Championship being held over July 15-24 at Eugene, Oregon, in the US.

The 23-year-old had qualified with a jump of eight metres. However in the final, his best jump best measured 7.96 metres. The final was won by China’s Jianan Wang who managed 8.36 metres.

In the women’s 3000m steeplechase heats, India’s Parul Chaudhary failed to qualify for the final although she earned a new personal best of 9:38.09.

Avinash Sable. This photo was downloaded from the Facebook page of the athlete and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended.

Sable in steeplechase final, Sreeshankar in long jump final

India’s Avinash Sable has made it to the final of the men’s 3000m steeplechase event at the 2022 World Athletics Championship, being held over July 15-24, at Eugene, Oregon in the US.

In the heats, Sable finished third with timing of 8:18.75. Hailemariam Amare of Ethiopia (8:18.34) and Evan Jager of the US (8:18.44) placed ahead of him. Sable holds the Indian national record in 3000m steeplechase – 8:12.48. Notably, the 27-year-old has broken the national record several times, commencing (as per Wikipedia) with the 8:29.80 he set at the 2018 National Open Championships in Bhubaneshwar. The last time he broke the national record was at an international athletics meet in Rabat, Morocco.

Sable also holds the national record in the half marathon – 1:00:30, set at the Delhi Half Marathon in November 2020.

Among other Indian athletes competing at the world championships in Eugene, Murali Sreeshankar made it to the final of the long jump. The 23-year-old jumped eight metres to make the cut. He is the first Indian to qualify for the final in the men’s long jump at the world championships.

Jim Thorpe sole gold medallist of 1912 Olympic pentathlon and decathlon

Nearly 110 years after he was stripped of his medals for violating the strict rules governing amateur sport at the time, American athlete Jim Thorpe was reinstated as the sole gold medallist of the 1912 Olympic pentathlon and decathlon events.

“ Thorpe, a Native American, returned to a ticker-tape parade in New York, but months later it was discovered he had been paid to play minor league baseball over two summers, an infringement of the Olympic amateurism rules. He was stripped of his gold medals in what was described as the first major international sports scandal. Thorpe to some remains the greatest all-around athlete ever. He was voted as the Associated Press’ Athlete of the Half Century in a poll in 1950,’’ AP said in its report on the reinstatement.

According to it, in 1982, 29 years after Thorpe’s death, the IOC gave duplicate gold medals to his family but his Olympic records were not reinstated, nor was his status as the sole gold medalist of the two events. Two years ago, a Bright Path Strong petition advocated declaring Thorpe the outright winner of the pentathlon and decathlon in 1912. The International Olympic Committee had listed him as a co-champion in the official record book.

“ This is a most exceptional and unique situation, which has been addressed by an extraordinary gesture of fair play from the National Olympic Committees concerned,’’ IOC president, Thomas Bach, was quoted as saying in a statement (dated July 15, 2022) related to Thorpe’s reinstatement.

(The author, Shyam G Menon, is an independent journalist based in Mumbai.)