Ranchi: The 53rd Open National Athletics Championships ended here on Wednesday in utter chaos with India's top athletes receiving their awards in virtual darkness. Mobile phones and torch lights came to the rescue as the closing ceremony, attended by state sports minister, was held in complete darkness due to a power failure.
Power went off as soon as the closing ceremony began at 6pm and the entire Birsa Munda Athletics Stadium plunged into complete darkness. There was no alternative arrangement and the closing ceremony, which lasted a little over an hour, continued with the state sports minister Geetashree Oraon being shielded by her security guards who formed a circle of human bodies around her.
With the public addressing system not working, the minister declared the championships closed at the top of her voice and one official
announced that Railways were the women's team and overall champions. Services were declared the men's team champions.
In what is a premier athletics event of the country, organisers were seen using their mobile phones to read while making
announcements. The final days chaotic scenes only added salt to injury as the meet was already reeling under controversies ranging from a national record being questioned by its previous holder and medals being given to athletes who did not even win them!
(with PTI inputs)