Athletes lament mis-management at the Pan India Games

Bangalore Sports

Pan India Masters Game Federation is organizing the first National Pan India Master Games in Bengaluru.

Athletes from different Indian states complained about mis-management and lack of proper communication in different events at the Pan India Games.

Lack of training ,accommodation facility, proper food and opponents from different age groups playing against each other, were some of the complaints against the organizers of the first National Pan India Masters Games which started on May 11.

 “People have come here, facing problems in train. And once we came here, we don’t have proper accommodation or food. They told us that you are on your own once we reached here. They had initially informed us that they will provide all the facilities. This is more inconvenient for women than men,” said Amarjeet Singh, 55, a high jump participant from Punjab.

Pradeep Kundaji, 74, a shuttler from Pune said that they were not allowed to practice, even though they arrived here on May 10. “In every tournament, they give time to practice, but here we are not allowed. We booked a place far off from here to practice at our own cost,” he said. The badminton events will start from Friday at the Padukone-Dravid Centre for Sports Excellence.

The Pan India Masters Games Federation is a newly founded organization with a ‘Sport for All’ philosophy. The objective of the event was to promote sports among different age categories above 30 years. Events from 21 disciplines are planned to be conducted.

The games are scheduled for a period of five days. The budget for the event is approximately Rs. 40 lakh, said Vandana, chief advisor of the event and former Olympian.More than 6,000 athletes have participated from across the country, she said.l“Cricket is more popular in India, so other sports don’t get attention and sports persons are badly affected. These kind of events are necessary to bring others into attention. They encourage the upcoming generation,” said a sports journalist. He also said that such events are important from a fitness point of view.

“It helps in determining my fitness at such an age,” said Vijaya Lakshmi, 72, mixed doubles partner of Kundaji. However, they were slotted in a younger age group since there were no participants from their own age group.

Similar issues were reported in volleyball as well. “In the 60-years age group, the opponents are 40-years-old. They are not checking the Aadhaar card either,” said Chandra Mohan Allu, a volleyball player from Telangana.

Allu also highlighted that two teams were playing from the same state [Kerala]. According to him, such a thing doesn’t happen and should not be allowed in any national level tournament.

Vandana, had contrary views and explained the age criteria for participation. “A player aged 60 can participate in the age group of 30 to 35. But, a player aged 35 cannot participate in the 60 year category match.”

Davinder Kaur, 62, an athlete said that such tournaments are organized without a central overlooking entity. “There should be proper organization of the events. An entity affiliated with the government such as the Athletics Federation of India should overlook such events. Also there should be state level and national level tournaments for athletes to qualify at international level. Currently, they are allowing anyone who pays the money.”

Vandana said, “These are master games. Accommodation is never provided in master games. They [athletes] should have known it. The food is also provided at a subsidized rate.”

However, experts said that organizers of the event must ensure that players are provided with proper facilities. “If such issues are happening, it is absolutely wrong. The organizers should obviously look into that players get proper food, accommodation and place to practice. They should help players with top-notch facilities. The players shall not be required to spend their money. They are here to play and perform,” the sports journalist said.

While the event was organized for benefit of adult sportsperson, keeping their fitness and participation in mind, the participants are not happy with the organization of the event.

The event will continue till May 15, 2022. A 10 k.m. run challenge was scheduled on the final day. But they have postponed the event to August as it was co-coinciding with a similar event organized by Tata Consultancy Services.