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Cop fitness test gravely ill

An aspiring IRB constable at MGM hospital in Jamshedpur on Thursday. Picture by Animesh Sengupta

Jamshedpur: A day after youth died after collapsing during the physical endurance test of the Indian Reserve Battalion constable recruitment drive and four more fell senseless on Wednesday, four others fainted during the same test on Thursday, a doctor highlighting the danger of sudden physical activity without prior practice.

The autopsy report of deceased Bokaro youth Raj Kumar Sahu, 28, is awaited. The four taken ill on Wednesday (not six as reported) and the four more on Thursday are stable, doctors at MGM said.

All nine youths, including the deceased Sahu, could not complete the 10km run at Jharkhand Armed Police-VI Ground in Sidhgora. The 10km run in an hour is part of the physical test besides chest expansion and height measurement (minimum 175cm).

Over 28,000 aspirants, who cleared the written test, are appearing for the physical test that began on July 2 and will continue till July 22 from 5.30am to 11am.

The 10km run is being held on a 400m track at Sidhgora ground, which means 25 rounds in an hour. "Raj Kumar Sahu had completed 22 rounds and fell during the 23rd," city SP Prabhat Kumar, who also happens to chair the IRB Recruitment Committee said.

"In a day, about 2,000 youths, from every corner of Jharkhand, appear in the physical endurance test. We have kept two medical officers and two ambulances," the city SP told this paper to imply all norms were being followed. "The post-mortem will bare the exact cause of Sahu's death."

Asked, deputy superintendent of MGM Medical College and Hospital Nakul Prasad Chaudhury, now superintendent in-charge, said extreme exhaustion and dehydration might be behind the collapses. "Those falling ill might not have practised running properly before running 10km. If one is a regular runner, lung capacity to absorb oxygen gradually rises. So, the body's heartbeats don't show a sudden rise. But if someone participates in a long run without practice, heartbeats rise suddenly and one might faint."

A candidate pointed out they had to wait for about three hours before their turn to run came. "There is no arrangement for food. Though we want to join IRB and do tough work, making us give the physical test on an empty stomach is not good. The recruitment committee could have arranged breakfast for us," he said, adding most aspirants came from very humble families and had little or no extra cash to spend on buying food.

Should breakfast be given before a physical test? Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com

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