The National Junior Championship is to begin on Saturday in Guwahati, Assam. But, to participate in the games, some athletes are having to borrow money to travel all the way and hire accommodation for themselves, as the organizers are not providing any boarding, lodging, or food arrangements for them.
A school-going athlete, who is going to play in the under-18 category, revealed that he had to borrow 12,000 rupees from his relatives, with which he would make his 36-hours train journey to Guwahati, lodging arrangements, and other expenses. Another athlete, due to scarcity of funds, is looking for accommodation at a cheap rate. Before setting off, he stated to the media – “I’m looking at Rs.800/- per day accommodation in Guwahati. Let’s see what happens here”.
According to the Secretary of the Assam Athletics Association Ashok Kumar, the decision of not providing lodging and food facilities to the athletes has been taken by the organization under the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) guidelines of the Assam government. “We aren’t allowed to even provide drinking water to athletes (during the championships). This is being done keeping in mind the health and safety of the athletes and to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus”, stated Kumar.
The SOP also mandates a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test report for each candidate to avail accommodation in the city. “It’s also compulsory for athletes to provide a negative report to compete. If someone doesn’t have it, he/she will not be allowed to enter the competition”, asserted AAA Secretary Kumar.