The competition scheduling seems to be heading nowhere and confusion looks set to mar the 33rd National Games even as the opening ceremony had all the spectacle and glitter one would have asked for. As evening approached, one was left with only one feeling — disgust — with no trace of competition schedules, media advisories, results sheets etc. In short, it was nothing short of a horrifying experience for the covering media. Confusion reigned supreme from wrestling to the volleyball arenas and the official Games website didn't leave one any wiser.
The Games officials had confirmed all along that the tennis events would begin on Saturday. But a call to the Assam Tennis Association secretary Raktim Saikia left one in a daze. "The tennis events will commence from February 12.We had sent our documents to the National Games Secretariat (NGS) where in we had clearly mentioned that the event would begin on February 12. I am clueless as to how this confusion has been created," said Saikia.
"The teams have just started coming to Guwahati, so there was no question of holding the event from Saturday."
However, Saikia was not very happy with the tennis balls being provided for the competition. "We have got the technical book only today," he said and added that it was riddled with errors. While there is no mixed doubles event scheduled at the Games, the book has all the details regarding the event. "That can be sorted out," said Saikia.
"The tennis balls arrived only three days back leaving us with no time to test them," he said. "In case the balls fall short of our standards, we have kept Wilson balls too."
There was little respite for the Assam Wrestling Association officials who finally printed and xeroxed the medical forms themselves. "We couldn't delay it further so we decided to print them ourselves," said Ujjal Boruah. However, there is a bigger problem on the technical front with the various state associations demanding changes in the technical committee list sent by Justice (retd) JK Mehra, who is running the day-to-day working of the Wrestling Federation of India after the body was dissolved.
The technical director, N Phoni, was at his wit's end. "How can I change the names?" he questioned.
Only two events — football and hockey — could be held, and that too after a lot of drama. In women's hockey, Assam lost to Delhi but not before three of their eight ‘hired’ players — Amandeep Kaur, Sandeep Kair and Saiinder — refusing to wear the shorts provided for the Assam contingent. In the event, the three players wore black skirts and the rest red shorts!