NEW DELHI: The indigenous game of Tug of War, which traces its roots to Indian mythology, lost momentum before some officers of the armed forces established a federation in 1978 and resurrected its lost glory. But today, the fortunes of the Tug of War Federation are falling into despair.
The cash-strapped sports body is struggling to raise funds for the upcoming 11th Asian Tug of War championship to be held in Thailand in December 2017 and World Indoor Championships to be held in March 2018 in China.
The financial woes crept in when the game was shifted from the ‘General’ to ‘Others’ category under a policy revision by the Sports Ministry dated May 7, 2014. After appeals by the federation, the ministry agreed to restore financial assistance for ‘Others’ category sports in a circular dated November 22, 2016.
The federation’s annual expenditure for the current financial year is capped at an estimated `40 lakh. A Sports Ministry official, on condition of anonymity, said funds will be disbursed soon. But the federation claims that its plea for a regular finance pipeline hasn’t seen any action. “The government’s strategy of promoting only those games which bring laurels is a skewed approach. While the government pushes for Make in India, our indigenous games struggle for patronage,” says Madan Mohan, president of the federation and a former long runner.
“Players from the Valley get to travel to the Northeast and other parts of the country. This game is great for national integration,” says Ravindra Singh, a physical education teacher from Jammu. Twenty-three-year-old state champion and captain of Delhi Tug of War girls’ state team, Bhawana Sharma, believes that lack of government support has deterred her from getting jobs and participating in international tournaments.
The game boasts of 20 state teams and 500 local teams
Delhi alone has 60 local teams in 28 zones with 540 players
Female players from Manipur, Tamil Nadu, Mizoram are leaving a mark
Maharashtra has been leading at the district level
the Federation over the years
The game federation for Tug of War in India was originally established in Ghaziabad in 1958 by some officers of the armed forces. By 1978, it had gained some momentum, and the federation moved the Tug of War International Federation for recognition. In 1999, a move was made to get the government to recognise the Tug of War Federation of India as the National Sports Federation. The Indian government accorded formal approval.