The Ministry of Youth Affair and Sports organized wrestling tournament under the Khelo India School Games (KISG) which began in New Delhi on January 31. The objective of the Khelo India project was the promotion of excellence in sports and increasing participation, but the organizers met with disappointment.
The number of participants in various weight groups was less than 12; in the 42-kg freestyle wrestling saw just three entries, bagging all participants a medal. The most number of entries were in 46-kg freestyle wrestling, with 16 boys, reported the Indian Express.
Satpal Singh, president of School Games Federation of India was quoted saying, “Khelo India is a very good scheme… To get the best results, it should be conducted responsibly… It ensures the future of a player, but we need to ensure that the player receives his money and there is no misuse.” Singh added that a detailed probe will be held in the matter so that such a thing is not repeated again.
The main organizing parties, KISG and Wrestling Federation of India, pushed the blame around on each other and various other organizations for the less number of entries.
VN Prasood, secretary general of WFI said, “WFI had sent the names of 136 wrestlers, but about 100 could not participate because KISG said we had delayed the list.” He also said that the KISG officials were inexperienced.
Two sportsperson would be picked from every discipline in this tournament and will be awarded an annual scholarship worth Rs. 5 lakhs, for eight years. This will be done by a talent hunt committee formulated for the nine-day event.
“WFI held the national championships in March 2017. They sent us the list of participants, but closer to our event, many of the wrestlers had moved up in weight. Since WFI did not have time to conduct fresh nationals, the category suffered,” Sandeep Pradhan, CEO of Khelo India said, about the 42-kgs freestyle wrestling category.
Faults in the names of participants in the lists released on January 31, confusion over the last date for entries and miscommunication between the organisers of the event were the main reasons for the poor turnout in this category of Khelo India.