The Indian contingent participating at the World Schools Sports Meet is safe at Trabzon in Turkey and players remain focused to win laurels for the country.
Located on Black Sea coast, Trabzon is around 1,100 km from Istanbul where a faction of Turkish army attempted a coup to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“We are all safe. In fact, the competition is going on and we are taking part in it (the 16th ISF Gymnasiade),” Arvind Joshi, a district sports officer and a member of the Indian contingent, told HT over the phone.
Three coaches and 15 players from MP in Indian contingent
There are three coaches and 15 players from Madhya Pradesh in the Indian contingent. In all, 158 players and 38 officials from India are participating in the games ending on July 18.
Joshi said the Indian contingent heard about the failed coup attempt on Saturday when they received frantic calls from relatives. “Our team leader held a meeting in the morning and told us to participate in the games,” he said.
Joshi said everyone is comfortable in the Olympic village and the local hosts are gracious hosts. “But communicating with the locals remains a problem as no one speaks English. We don’t have access to television.”
Coach Majendra Pramod Kumar from Bhopal told HT over phone that the players are safe. “There is no problem of food and lodging. The Games are being organized with full enthusiasm. Security is tight here and players are focusing on performances.”
Tennis player Vaidehi Chaudhary from Gujarat won the gold medal on Saturday.
A wrester from the state, Raman Yadav won a bronze medal. He informed through WhatsApp that players were safe. “I assured my family that there is nothing to be worried about. The hosts are giving all facilities to us,” he added.
Players are clinching medals despite tension in the host country
Wrestler Shivani Pawar, who won a silver medal, also assured her parents about her safety.
School Games Federation of India official Sunder Murthy said the federation is in touch with the contingent. “Despite tension in the host country, our players are clinching medals. We assure all the family members of players and coaches that they are fine and safe.”