There seems to be no respite for the Indian contingent at the World University Games (WUG) in Shenzhen, China. After chef-de-mission, Gurdeep Singh, became a source of embarrassment when he insisted on becoming the flag-bearer at the opening ceremony, the players are again in the midst of an unwanted controversy.
The kit provided by the Association of India Universities (AIU) has been rendered useless as the T-shirts don't have 'India' embossed on them. As per the rules, participants are not allowed to compete without the country's name on their shirts.
"It was a shock when the organisers told us that we could not compete with these T-shirts, as they did not have 'India' on the back. Eventually, we were allowed to participate after 'India' stickers were procured and stuck on the shirts," an athlete told HT from Shenzhen. "Twelve of us (athletes) and eight tennis players got stickers made at a cost of 27 yuan (Rs 200 each) from our pockets," said another athlete.
"It was a struggle to get the job done as none of the officials helped us. It seems most of them are on a picnic," he added.
Out of the six disciplines - shooting, swimming, tennis, athletics, archery and badminton - only the shuttlers have proper kits as their coach got them sponsors during the coaching camp in India.
"The swimming squad and some of the tennis players have borrowed T-shirts from the badminton players as they have got four sets," said an official.
No DA for players
The sports ministry has sanctioned a daily allowance of $25 (Rs 1132) for the players, but even after a week in Shenzhen, Gurdeep Singh, the chef-de-mission, is yet to disburse the money.
"When we asked him to give the money to the players, Gurdeep Singh said he would not give it as the players would spend it on shopping and that the money was for refreshments.
"One can ask him what the players will do with refreshments once the tournament is over," said an official.