The contingent from Delhi which arrived here to take part in PYKKA (Panchayat Yuva Krida Aur Khel Abhiyan) national meet on December 27 had a tough time convincing the organisers about their ‘right’ to take part in the event.
Spurned by the organisers, claiming that Delhi was an urban state and the players from there couldn’t take part in the rural nationals, the team had a rather uncertain first day here before they used their ‘connections’ in Delhi to convince the Sports Authority of India (SAI) officials that Delhi indeed had numerous villages and the players hailed from those areas. ‘’We had a terrible first day here as the officials ruled that we couldn’t take part in the meet. They refused to hear what we had to say and were telling that Delhi had no villages,’’ said Vikram Mehta, the team manager.
According to the manager, the 64-member contingent, which had 60 sports persons, all below 16 years, was threatened that it would be sent back. Fortunately, none of the sports persons had any competition on the first day.
The Delhi team informed the officials that Delhi had more than 365 villages and protested against the decision to deny them permission to take part in the event. ‘’We were in a fix then because the return journey was booked for December 31,’’ Vikram said. But to their relief, they had been able to take up the matter with the Union Sports Ministry using their Delhi contacts and the team was given permission to take part in the event on the second day.
They won two bronzes in athletics and the boys’ team had reached the quarterfinals of the volleyball.
Sports Authority of India Kerala region director and LNCPE principal G Kishore admitted that such an incident had taken place.
“There was some issue and we immediately settled it,’’ he told ‘Express.’