Watch a diverse, yet united India - at National School Games

January 12th, 2009 - 2:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Jan 12 (IANS) They may be staunch rivals on the field, but off it the cameraderie of 3,000 young players and 500 officials from across the country is ample evidence that the idea of India is alive and kicking.They are here for the 54th edition of the National School Games organised by the education department of Chandigarh under the aegis of the School Games Federation of India (SGFI).

For 14-year-old Babina Carver from Mizoram, the games are a good time to make new friends and visit various religious places here.

“I love visiting gurdwaras (Sikh shrines) and temples here. I am enjoying the weather and have made many new friends from different states. I love the Punjabi language and food. These days I am learning the Punjabi language and dance from my new Punjabi friends,” she said.

Parvin Varghese, who has come from Tamil Nadu to participate in the games, told IANS: “The weather is very cold here, especially during night, and we are not at all used to such conditions. Initially we faced many problems in adapting to this place and demanded heaters in our rooms.

“However, later we realised that it is not easy for the administration to fulfil all the demands of thousands of players who have come here. Now gradually we have also started enjoying the weather here,” he added.

The six-day sports extravaganza started here Jan 8. Competitions in the disciplines of handball, fencing, table tennis, skating and roller hockey events are going on here at various schools.

A total of 33 teams from Rajasthan, Gujarat, Chandigarh, Goa, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Lakshadweep, Punjab, Andaman and Nicobar and other places are participating in the event.

P.S. Brar, assistant sports officer, Chandigarh, told IANS: “Apart from testing their sporting skills, National School Games are the perfect platform to inculcate the values of brotherhood and national integration among the students. They all have made new friends and there is a healthy exchange of ideas and cultural hues among them.”

Brar, who is also a member of SGFI, noted that as Chandigarh was one of the most well planned cities of the country with a number of tourist destinations, the “students also have an opportunity of a good outing here.”

The best example of their sportsmanship is that everyone here is full of praise for the administration and nobody is complaining about anything.

“Food is the basic problem as our boys are not used to eating chapatis that we are getting here. They need rice at least once in a day but rice that we are getting here is also not boiled properly,” said Rajasekar, coach of the men’s handball team from Tamil Nadu.

However, he added that north Indian food was necessary to survive in the chilling cold here, so they were not complaining and are satisfied with the arrangements.

The administration here has made arrangements to lodge these guests in the classrooms of 13 government schools. But due to resource constraints in many schools, many students are not being provided proper beds.

“We have no problem in sleeping on the floor as we are provided with good bedsheets and warm quilts here. However, the administration here should make some arrangement for healthy food for the players coming here,” Anil Kumar, who has come from Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh, told IANS.

“Every day they give us Rs.100 for our diet and then we have to roam here and there in search of food in the markets. Teams from some states have brought their own cooks with them, but there should be some arrangement for others,” said Kumar.

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