DHANGADHI, Feb 26: The weaknesses of the organizing committee of the Sixth National Games were further exposed on Sunday during the opening ceremony, which kicked off with the late arrival of President Dr Ram Baran Yadav.
The president was scheduled to inaugurate the games at 2 pm but he arrived almost an hour late as the spectators, players and performers at the Dhangadhi Stadium had to kill time in scorching heat.
Only the southern section of the stadium had tents while most of the people inside the stadium had to stay under the open sky. The organizers didn´t bother to sprinkle water on the dusty ground.
Even worse was the distribution of drinking water. The organizers had brought 20 boxes of water for hundreds of viewers but the volunteers had no idea where the water bottles were kept.
“We have water but I don´t know where it has been stored,” said one of the volunteers. The security guards, who were stern outside the stadium, didn´t bother to keep the crowd away from the track as they were enjoying the players march past.
The area designated for the press was placed in such a bad location that the media persons could neither see the VIP area nor the players on the field.
The only thing commendable during the opening ceremony was the cultural show and dance performed by the students of local schools.
Also, the march past performed by the players of Nepal Police Club stood out. While other teams looked lousy, the players of NPC made an eye-catching display with their uniform and orderly march past.
Players complain of mismanagement
The initial complaints of the players upon their arrival in Dhangadhi appear to be just the tip of an iceberg. While the National Sports Council is trying to downplay the situation by saying that everything is fine, more number of players are turning up to express their dissatisfaction toward the poor facilities provided by the accommodation sub-committee of NSC.
There were also some reports of confrontation between coaches and NSC Member Secretary Yuvaraj Lama on Saturday night after the players didn´t get proper place to sleep.
Sansar Lal Baidhya, member of Nepal Amateur Athletics Association, said that around 50 athletes couldn´t get a proper place for accommodation upon their arrival on Saturday.
“We came here yesterday (Saturday) morning after traveling the whole night but we didn´t get a bed to sleep. They took us to the cheapest hotel in Dhangadhi,” said Baidhya, referring to Hotel Devotee, the weather-beaten hotel.
Baidhya said that Minister for Youth and Sports Kamala Roka did not respond to complaints while NSC Member Secretary Lama expressed annoyance with the players for speaking to the media.
A boxing coach, who didn´t wish to be named, said that about 13 boxing officials were kept in one room and they didn´t have a bed either.
Another player living in Maligaon Hotel said that they were having a hard time because of poor facilities.
“I have taken pictures of the hotel. You can see for yourself how bad it is. Even the food is not good. We are planning to leave the hotel,” the player said under condition of anonymity.
A member of Eastern Region´s basketball team told Republica that their hotel looks like a cabin restaurant. He further said that they were not even allowed to move to other hotel.
Meanwhile, Minister Roka and Member Secretary Lama had made an announcement on Saturday saying that they had made an inspection visit and that they had found nothing wrong with the management of food and accommodation of the players.