The bird flu scare at Sukhna Lake has knocked the wind out of the sails of the teams of rowing, kayaking and canoeing, from Chandigarh as well as Punjab, preparing for the upcoming National Games scheduled to be held in Kerala from January 31.
The water body was being used for practice by these players and the 30-day ban on any activity in Sukhna has left the players and associations in a quandary. Local players seem to be worst-hit with the Chandigarh Rowing Association (CRA) hoping that things will work out to be fine in a week or so and the players can resume practice.
However, the Punjab Kayaking and Canoeing Association (PKCA) has shifted the camp to Bhalswa Lake in Delhi. “At present, our rowers are focusing on groundwork and we are keeping our fingers crossed that everything will be fine by next week and we will be allowed to use the facility at the lake,” said CRA secretary general Parmod Kumar Singla.
PKCA secretary general Prabhjeev Singh said 20 kayakers and canoeists had shifted to Delhi and were practising along with the Delhi team.
“We shifted the camp as we do not want the players to suffer. Players are not only getting all facilities there, but are also getting competitive practice,” he said.
“Two of our girls are competing in the all-India inter-university kayaking competitions being held at Pong Dam and they will join the team in Delhi later.”
The CRA, meanwhile, claimed that it had no ready solution to the problem. “If we do not get the facility within a week, then it is going to be a loss for our rowers in the games,” Singla said.
A majority of the rowers in the Chandigarh squad is from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). They are now undergoing physical training on their Hallomajra campus.