Arrangements were short of the qualifying mark on Thursday on the opening day of Swami Vivekananda Punjab State Rural Games for Girls (under 16) here.
Players assembled from across the state had to wait for hours to use toilet. "Our players had toothbrushes in their hands since 3am. Since the arrangements were meant to be for girls, more was expected of the sports department," said a woman coach from Bathinda.
Even at the playing venue, Sports College grounds, the facilities were inadequate. In the absence of official transport, girls had to walk to the six competition venues from Olympian Surjit Singh Hockey Stadium at Burlton Park, where chief parliamentary secretary (sports) Pawan Kumar Tinu declared the games open and nearly 2,200 athletes participated in march past.
Players of 11 disciplines (athletics, basketball, boxing, hockey, handball, judo, kho kho, kabaddi, volleyball, weightlifting, and wrestling) and the support staff had to hire auto-rickshaws to get to the venues. Some walked. "How can you expect performance after toil and harassment since morning. Select players got transport," said another coach.
Competing on the Sports College track, players also rued of a shortage of drinking water and medical aid. "It is strange that a state-level tournament is being held without these facilities. At least doctors should be on the spot," said an athlete. Sports director Shiv Dular Singh Dhillon agreed that it was a serious matter. "I will speak with the organisers and get the arrangements worked out," he said.
CPS blames district administration
Chief parliamentary secretary (sports), who declared the games open, blamed the district administration for the bad arrangements.
He said the district administration had failed to coordinate with different departments. "Rural Games is a dream project of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal to spot talented athletes in villages, yet the district administration did not take it seriously," said CPS Pawan Kumar Tinu
"No one from the district administration attended the inauguration. I'm told the deputy commissioner was away but there are additional DCs and subdivisional magistrates. Why didn't they turn up. It was their duty to coordinate with schools, hospitals and other institutions for the convenience of players, and they failed," he said, adding that he would take up the matter with the district administration.
100m: Khuswinder Kaur of Bathinda gold (12.52seconds); Mandeep Kaur of Mukatsar Sahib (13.55sec); Arshdeep Kaur of Sangrur bronze (13.60sec).
800m: Sukhwant Kaur of Mukatsar Sahib gold (2:32.65minutes), Amandeep Kaur of Sangrur silver (2:33.01min); Aarti of Gurdaspur bronze (2:35.24min).
Shot Put: Paramjit Kaur of Patiala gold (10.51m), Kanwarbir Kaur of Amritsar silver (10.29m); Arpandeep Kaur of Amritsar bronze (10.21m).
Volleyball preliminary rounds: Hoshiarpur b SA S Nagar 2-0; Tarn Taran b Fatehgarh Sahib 2-0; Gurdaspur b Pathankot 2-0; Patiala b Ferozepur 2-0; Moga b Ropar 2-0.
Kabaddi: SBS Nagar b Gurdaspur 46-42; Jalandhar b Pathankot 34-8; Kapurthala b Fazilka 49-11 to reach quarterfinals.
Kho-Kho: Ludhiana b Ferozepur 17-7; Bathinda b Roop Nagar 5-1; Moga b Muktsar Sahib 7-1; and Jalandhar got walkover against Kapurthala.
Basketball: Amritsar b Bathinda 47-8; Sandgrur b Faridkot 43-15; Mansa b Gurdaspur 41-21; Moga b Patiala 17-9.
Handball: Patiala b Jalandhar 12-11; Bathinda b Sangrur 7-5; Moga b Kapurthala 13-6; SBS Nagar b Gurdaspur 3-2; Amritsar b Pathankot 10-4.