This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Upasana Ranjib. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

AIU Swimming Nationals: A Mockery Of Everything That Sportsmanship Boasts About?

More from Upasana Ranjib

At a time when India is looking avidly to make its mark at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with a double digit medal score, a government organised event has been blatantly entertaining and more so, sponsoring unethical malpractices.

The All India Inter University Games, hosted the Men’s Swimming 2019, at Lovely Professional University, Punjab from November 1-4.

A day before the event began, on October 31, multiple swimmers raised complaints regarding the lack of qualified officials who were absolutely zapped about the basics of swimming and its functioning. There was little to no clarity by these officials regarding the instructions or the timing management. With a whopping 300-400 swimmers, the bare minimum is a revision on instructions and time-keeping for all participants.

Along with this, there were also complaints made regarding the lack of a proper timing system. There was the absence of touch pads, which meant that manual recording had to be solely depended upon.

November 1 saw a rising protest from the swimmers, when a swimmer from the host university was recorded making an early start which is equivalent to an instant disqualification under the rules and guidelines by FINA – the highest swimming regulatory authority in the world.

A placard from the protest. (Photo provided by author)

Sahil Chopra, a student- swimmer representing LPU, was recorded taking an early start in the 50 metres butterfly event, where Mihir Ambre of Maharashtra overtook him and clearly touched the wall well in advance, yet Sahil was surprisingly declared the winner of the event, with a timing of 24.32 seconds, while Mihir was awarded or rather in this case disrewarded with the second position, with a time of 24.40 seconds.

Even a layman could make out the stark distinction in the finishing of both the participants in question. While this event laid the base to the unethical practices and the cheating, it didn’t stop here.

Time and again, swimmers from LPU were encouraged to continue with these malpractices and cheating was all that remained within the event. Even though there were multiple times that the cheating was blatant and participants went up to report it and ask for a justification, not much was done by the authorities who constantly claimed that action would be taken.

The only corrections made by the host university was in the 50 metres butterfly event, under much pressure and due to visual evidence. Even post this, certain officials were recorded to have stated that the malpractices would continue to happen, and no one could stop it or bring about any difference.

Likith SP protesting at the event. (Photo provided by author)

The protest took full swing when a bunch of swimmers, namely Likith SP, Srihari Natraj, Ansh Arora, Mihir Ambre, Siva Sridhar and many others, took to their social media. The issues reached the ears of many Olympians and the constant roll of sharing the incidents happening at LPU, did finally make its way to the Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju who was constantly being tagged by those sharing the stories.

The Minister promised to look into the proceedings as well condemned the unethical management of the competition. While no concrete measures have been taken by the government, there is still hope from the strong condemnation that has flown out from all parts of the country and from various athletes.

Most universities finally refused to let their swimmers withdraw from the competition, as a form of protest, and pushed them into swimming despite all allegations and malpractices, which I personally believe was as unethical and wrong as the cheating propaganda by LPU and its officials.

If the universities don’t allow these young athletes stand up for what is right and malpractice and unethical competing is normalised, it will not only pull down the morale of talented and passionate sportspersons but also take away India’s dream for a higher medal tally. It may even encourage young potential to quit sports altogether.

The only ray of hope within this entire fiasco is the grit and determination of these young lads to bring about a change and clean up the sporting culture and to make fair play the common practice and not the opposite.

With the women’s nationals starting on November 5, one can only hope that this does not repeat.

Featured image provided by author.
You must be to comment.

More from Upasana Ranjib

Similar Posts

By Abdullah Arif

By Namrata Vijay

By shakeel ahmad

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below