The talent and passion of hundreds of players coming from the interior areas of Punjab took a backseat at the World Kabaddi League trials conducted at Guru Nanak Dev Stadium here on Saturday. Every player who wanted to appear in the trials had to pay a whopping Rs. 30,000 at the time of the registration process.
Shockingly, on one hand the organisers of the league have made tall claims that this will be one-of-its-kind international-level kabaddi league that is expected to incur expenditure of Rs. 100 crore, on the other hand they are charging players from rural areas who cannot afford to pay.
HT spoke to some of the players who had high hopes to showcase their talent at the league but preferred to head home early on finding that they have to pay Rs. 30,000 as security deposit to appear in the trials.
Jashanpreet Singh, a kabaddi league aspirant, said, “I do not play, I live kabaddi. Had I been informed well in time I could have managed the money somehow, but it is really difficult for me to present the money upfront. I did plead to the authorities regarding the same but in vain. I guess talent and money are the two prerequisites to qualify for these trials.”
The authorities concerned, however, claimed that the money deposited as security will be refunded duly once the trials are over.
Sukhpal Singh, a player from Faridkot, said, “The receipt that we have received at the time of registration process does not mention that the amount paid by us will be refunded. The date mentioned in the slip is also not correct.”
Another player, Gurdyal Singh, said, “Though we have been told that whether we are selected or not money paid as security amount will be refunded except to those who will fail the dope test, I suspect the claim as neither the receipt mentions the amount nor it is written anywhere that the money will be refunded.”
Moreover, the organisers do not seem to have learnt any lesson from the first phase of trials, when out of three injured players, one almost had succumbed to his injuries. This time, no medical aid was available at the venue.
Gurpreet Singh from Mansa got seriously injured and kept sniveling but there was no first aid arrangement at the venue.
However, Shiv Dev Singh, chairman of the selection committee, said, “We have collected
Rs 30,000 as security deposit and it will be returned to the players once the selection process is over. The deposit of players who are found positive in the dope test will be forfeited.”
On being asked about the medical arrangements available at the trials, Singh said, “Kabaddi players are prone to injury. We will ensure that arrangements for medical aid are made at the earliest.”