THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala State Sports Council president Anju Bobby George on Sunday said she received assurances from Union Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal that the uncertainty over the athletics competitions of the 61st National Schools Games, hanging in the balance since Maharashtra pulled out of hosting it, will be cleared soon.
“I spoke to the Sports Minister who has promised to talk to the School Games Federation of India (which organises the meet) to reach a decision regarding the venue and dates for the national meet soon. The Ministry has assured us it would not let the young athletes miss an opportunity like that of the national schools meet,” said the World bronze medalist. Maharashtra pulled out from hosting the event after former athletes such as Anju and P T Usha along with the Sports Ministry had objected to the state’s decision to hold the event separately for boys and girls. The fate of the annual event looked even bleaker after Kerala ruled themselves out of the running after initially expressing interest to host the meet.
Anju said she talked to cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, also a Rajya Sabha member, on Sunday regarding the issue. “Sachin has extended full support and promised me that a collective effort would be taken on the national meet when the issue comes up in Parliament,” she said.
M B Rajesh and M K Raghavan, MPs from Kerala, are likely to raise the issue in the Parliament on Monday. She said she hoped the problem will be sorted out soon.
Kerala are the defending champions of the national meet and will look to win their 19th successive title when the meet goes on the floor this year. Maharashtra were planning to host the event in Pune and Nasik, separately for boys and girls, against the tradition.
Usha had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sports Ministry hoping to bring the issue to their notice which produced a response from the Ministry