Punjab Govt-POA tussle leaves Goa-bound players in the lurch

Gurdaspur, October 19

With the Punjab Olympic Association (POA) and the Punjab Government being on the warpath, 350-odd sportspersons will have to dig deep into their pockets to bear their travel expenses for the 37th National Games, slated to be held in Goa from October 26 to November 9.

Sensing that the development has the potential to demoralise the players, the POA has made it clear that in the event of poor performances, it should not be held responsible.

The POA has decided to bear the cost of its players through its own sources. This is being done “to avoid any embarrassment at the opening ceremony to be graced by the Prime Minister.”

POA secretary general Raja KS Sidhu said, “I am doing my level best to sort out the issue.”Sports Minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer said the government did not recognise the POA because the September 2 elections were not valid as the government observer was not invited.

Raja Sidhu said there was no rule whatsoever which demanded that an observer of the Sports Department should be present. He said the sportspersons would not be discriminated against and all expenses would be paid to them.

Gurdaspur-based international judokas Karamjit Mann and Anmoldeep Singh have decided to fly to Goa on their own expenses. Incidentally, there are scores of other sportspersons who are all set to reach Goa by air. “If we have to perform well, we need to travel by air. When will Punjab’s politicians and bureaucrats understand this?” remarked a Goa-bound judo player.

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