Budding players, who performed well at the 58th National School Games, are finding it hard to gather funds to represent the School Games Federation of India (SGFI) in international events, held under the aegis of the International School Sports Federation (ISF).The SGFI is sending teams in basketball, swimming, tennis and football for international events, and has asked the players to deposit Rs 2 lakh towards expenses.
“Since parents are keen on international exposure for their children, the SGFI is exploiting the matter,” said a family member of a player picked in the team.
Perhaps, this could be the reason why four Delhi swimmers, selected to represent the country during the trials in Pune, in an international event in Israel next month, have deposited the amount. “Competing at the world level will not only add to confidence, it will broaden the horizon too. Hence, we’ve given a draft to the SGFI,” said a parent.
The Delhi swimmers, however, have been bailed out by the state education department, which has promised to reimburse them, but there are some (see box) who’re struggling to generate funds.
When contacted by HT, SGFI secretary-general, Rajesh Mishra, said it doesn’t compel students to pay, but asks the respective state education departments to pay the dues. “In case the state department is reluctant to pay, the player has to make arrangements,” said Mishra. “Since the SGFI does not have adequate funds, we can’t give financial assistance to the Indian contingent participating in international events,” he added.
Mishra said the SGFI had approached the sports ministry for financial assistance. “The government is giving us a small amount, which is inadequate for sending teams in different disciplines.”
Sports Authority of India (SAI) regional director, Roque Dias, said the SGFI hadn’t sent a Long-Term Develop­ment Plan (LTDP), without which it is difficult to earmark a budget. “But to support budding players, the ministry had sanctioned R1 crore. We are ready to fund teams, provided there is transparency in the functioning of the body,” said Dias.