27 May 2017 | Last updated 04:37 PM

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IIFW mismanages from start to finish
Kirti Patil | Monday, 20 March 2017 AT 11:52 PM IST
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More than 30 hours after the end of the Pune International Triathlon, the results were still awaited.

Pune: Absolute chaos on the cycling and running routes of the inaugural Pune International Triathlon and Duathlon has left the title sponsors, Giant Starkenn, red-faced, while the event organisers, Indian Institute of Fitness and Wellness (IIFW) washed its hands off by posting a simple apology on their Facebook page.

More than 30 hours after the triathlon ended, the IIFW were unable to give out results of any of the 20-odd categories in which the event was organised as scores of athletes protested the way the whole event was managed even after they had paid Rs 1000 as entry fee.

With the fad of Ironman events among city’s health connoisseurs growing, IIFW decided to cash in on it by bringing the same event closer home, but instead of starting with minimum categories a host of classes and sub-categories saw the participation swelling beyond what they could manage.

Race Director Anand Patil, himself an ironman finisher, posted his apology on the Facebook page—“… We tried our best to put in all possible sincere efforts to give you a good race experience. We fell short of your expectations because of lack of volunteer support and adequate route indicators.”

One of the basic flaws of the Pune International Triathlon was that the IIFW controlled the entire show and did not involve the Maharashtra Triathlon Association (MTA) in execution of the event.

Two MTA officials were present at the start of the Triathlon just as spectators, and they busied themselves in taking photographs on their mobiles as the Race Director kept every control with him.

Most of the big ticket sponsor-driven events, such as Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon to name one, makes it a point to have the officials of the athletic federation handling the technical part in the conduct of the event.

Sadly, IIFW did not think it wise to have MTA  handle the technical part.

Then, the scheduled 5.30 am start was delayed by one half-an-hour as the Race Director wanted a daylight start—as if it wasn’t known beforehand when the first rays of light would dawn over the Manas Lake, the venue of the swimming event.

All the participants were down to their swimming costumes in time and they were made to wait in the morning cold for more than half-an-hour. Loud music blared in the background as if to douse down the murmurs that began to grow.

From breaking of coconut and playing Ganesh aarti, the start of the international triathlon seemed like a family function, and not a sports event.

Having lost time, the participants of different categories were let into the lake much faster than envisaged and it became difficult to track who completed how much of a distance—the half-ironman participants were to do 1.9-km, Olympic distance entrants were to do 1.5-km while sprint participants 750 metres.

The next was cycling from Bhugaon to Kasarsai to Balewadi Sports Complex, but lack of indicators and volunteers saw many taking short turn, while others cycled more distances leaving scores of participants fuming.

Marshalls were missing on the running route and added to that signboards were few and far between.

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