Players coming for the tournament were seen wearing protective masks as a precautionary measure from coronavirus at Punjabi University in Patiala on Friday.(BHARAT BHUSHAN/HT)
Players coming for the tournament were seen wearing protective masks as a precautionary measure from coronavirus at Punjabi University in Patiala on Friday.(BHARAT BHUSHAN/HT)

800 players reach Punjabi varsity for taekwondo championship

NOT PAYING HEED TO GOVT ORDERS? Registrar says meeting was called for postponing the event, but the AIU is adamant to not reschedule the tournament
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, Chandigarh, Patiala
PUBLISHED ON MAR 13, 2020 10:02 PM IST

Despite advisories issued to the educational institutions across Punjab to not hold any large gatherings or events in the wake of coronavirus outbreak, the Punjabi University is set to organise an inter-varsity taekwondo championship on its campus from Saturday.

The tournament is expected to witness the presence of over 1,000 sportsperson from 160 universities across country. By Friday, 804 players from 84 universities had reached the varsity and registered their entries for the four-day tournament.

The university’s sports department is making arrangements for accommodation of the players at the university hostels.

A professor, not wanting to be named, said that the sports department should have taken the health advisories seriously and postponed the event.

“Moreover, there is no facility for medical screening before registration of players for the tournament. The varsity’s sports department should ensure that all preventive measures are taken for the safety of university residents, faculty, staff and students,” another official said.

In the wake of increasing cases of coronavirus in country, the University Grants Commission (UGC), Punjab’s higher education department, and the
district health department have issued advisories to all educational institutions asking
them to not hold any large gatherings on campus.

OFFICIALS SAY

Registrar Manjit Singh Nijjar said that sensing sensitivity of the issue, a meeting was held with director sports to postpone the event. “However, the sports department informed us that the event is being organised by Association of Indian Universities (AIU), which is adamant to not reschedule the tournament. As the matter is related with safety of players, the event should be postponed, but the sports department is going ahead with it,” he said.

He added that directions have been issued to take all preventive measures in case of any kind of emergency.

Sameer, one of the players, said that it is a key tournament for which players have been preparing for months. “It is mandatory to hold the event before March 31, but owing to the situation, the AIU should have extended the dates as many other major tournaments have also been rescheduled following coronavirus outbreak,” he said.

Varsity sports director Gurdeep Singh Randhawa said that as per the schedule released by the sports division of the Association of Indian Universities (AIU), the event has to be held before March 31.

“Moreover, the players and support staff from different universities situated in the North-East and South had already started for the Punjabi University by the time the advisories were issued,” Randhawa said.

She added that if they organise the event after March 31, the possible winners and universities will get no benefits or points. “We are closely monitoring the situation and have put the coaching staff on alert,” Randhawa said.

Meanwhile, taking preventive measures, the Punjabi University had postponed its 39th convocation which was scheduled to be held on March 13. The decision was taken in last week’s meeting of senior functionaries of the university, chaired by vice-chancellor (V-C) Prof BS Ghuman.

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