It is incredible but true. A senior Haryana IAS officer’s daughter has become the national skating hockey champion without even having figured in the championship or without possessing the required expertise in the sport.
Sriya Vaishnavi Tallapragda, daughter of TVSN Prasad, principal secretary in the food and supply department, was selected in the state senior girls’ in-line-hockey (roller skating hockey) team for the national championship without her having attended the selection trials held in Yamunanagar on December 1.
Though absent from the event – 51st National Championship held at Shah Satnam Girls School, Sirsa, from December 11 to 15 – Sriya was very much part of the state senior girls’ team. The Haryana girls went on to win the gold and Sriya became a part of the national gold medal winning squad while sitting at home, whereas for others it takes years of hard work to achieve the feat. When confronted, Prasad said, “My daughter was very much there in Sirsa during the national championship from December 11 to 15 and was also present during her match.”
He added: “She was also present at the coaching camp held from December 6 to 10. The only thing is she is not a very good skater, so she was in the extras. That’s why I don’t boast that my daughter is a national champion. But she was very much part of the winning team. Let me make it clear that I have not used any influence to get her into the team.”
HT has a copy of the match sheet in which Sriya was marked absent.
In the senior girls’ inline hockey cate gory, in which Prasad’s daughter was accommodated, there were only two teams — Haryana and Andhra Pradesh.
In this category, in the only match played, Haryana girls defeated Andhra Pradesh 6-0 to win the gold. Sriya was not in Sirsa during the entire duration of the championship.
Despite not being present during the trial, the camp and finally during the championship, her name figured as part of the Haryana team in the entry form.
Being part of the gold winning squad entitled Sriya, a class-12 medical student, to a
2 lakh cash award as per the state sports policy and also to be considered for a seat in a professional college under the sports quota.
“One or two girls were not selected during the trials as they were not up to the mark. While a girl without even being present at the trials was selected,” says a member of the winning squad.
“Even the team jersey of Sriya that we got for the nationals was there. But we never saw her in Sirsa,” she added.
Vishal Bakshi, one of the coaches with the Haryana contingent in the nationals, when confronted on the issue, said, “I have no idea about the girl. There are a number of girls in different age categories, so it’s difficult to remember their names.”
Haryana Roller Skating Association president Amit Kumar Agarwal, an Indian Administrative Services officer, when contacted, said he was not aware of this, and told that he “would look into the matter”.