Yoga Nationals: Players floored by ‘poor’ arrangements

Karam Prakash

Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 19

Competitors at the at the 43rd National Yoga Championship, which began here on Sunday, were greeted with poor accommodation, insufficient transport facilities and utter chaos. Players were seen camping outside the venue for hours as there was no roster of accommodation. Moreover, no proper transport facility was available for the players and officials to ferry them from the railway station and bus terminal. All the players and officials have been put up in government schools and/or private ashrams, which lack the most basic facilities.

Soon after the opening ceremony, the players were seen walking around, trying to find transport to reach their accommodation.

Players floored

With the night temperature going down to as low as 15 degree Celsius here, the players are unhappy that they have not been provided beds and have to sleep on thin mattresses on the floors of schools or ashrams.

When The Tribune visited one of the accommodations — Government Victoria Girls Senior Secondary School, in the centre of the city — we found that the conditions were very poor. Young girls were lodged in a poorly-ventilated room. A dozen girls were crammed into to a single room, which had school benches all around.

“It is very cold out here, and there are no arrangements for hot water,” said an official with the Gujarat team. “There are small kids in the team and there is a high risk of them becoming sick due to cold.” The players complained that they had not been provided blankets.

Ashok Kumar, president of the Yoga Federation of India, said: “In other competitions also the arrangements are similar. There was no help from the Punjab government. Yesterday, the Yoga Federation of India gave financial help of Rs 2 lakh to the organisers.”

Chandrakanat Mishra, general secretary of the Punjab Yoga Association and also a coach at the National Institute of Sports here, said: “Sabhi games main aisa hi milta hai (every national championship have the same facilities). Do you expect us to give beds to 1,500 participants?”

Officials cry foul

Some officials were also unhappy with the arrangements. Many of them had to make their own arrangements to reach their accommodation at various places in the city. With no volunteer in sight to guide the players and officials, autorickshaw drivers helped them find their accommodation. Raman Kumar Sharma, organising secretary of the Yoga Federation of India, said: “Where are the arrangements? I myself have been on the road since last three days. See, we are also taking autorickshaws to reach our accommodations.”

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