| A match in progress at the Secretariat Hall of Patliputra Sports Complex on Tuesday. Picture by Jai Prakash |
Maytri Khatri came for a badminton tournament but instead of sweating it out on the court, she roamed on the streets of Patna looking for a hotel.
“We managed to get a single-bed room after scouting more than a dozen hotels,” said Preeti, Maytri’s mother.
The 13-year-old from Ahmedabad came to the city to take part in the 26th National Sub-Junior (U-13 and U-15) Badminton Championship. But she was shocked to see the accommodation she had been allotted by the hosts, Bihar Badminton Association (BBA).
“The rooms were dirty and lacked basic facilities. As soon as I saw the room, I told my mother that I would not be able to stay there,” said Maytri.
She is not the only one complaining. Almost all participants are unhappy. So are their guardians and match officials. Some claimed that the rooms they have been provided in private hotels and government hostels are dirty and overcrowded, others were displeased over the poor sanitary conditions. Vibha Jitendra, a player from Odisha, was shocked when she learnt that the hostel in which she has been put up would not provide her with warm water to bathe.
“I fear falling sick if I bathe in cold water,” she said. The minimum temperature in Patna on Monday was 11°C.
The organisers were, however, coolly nonchalant about the problems of the players. “It is very difficult to take care of everything the players demand. We are trying to provide them the basic amenities,” said K.N. Jaiswal, the BBA secretary. He added: “We have organised national tournaments earlier too. But this is the first time the players are complaining.”
Leader of the Opposition in the Bihar Assembly and BBA president Abdul Bari Siddiqui could not be reached on his mobile for comment.
Besides accommodation, the players were also complaining about the facilities at the Secretariat Hall of the Patliputra Sports Complex, where the matches are being held since December 1. The Jammu and Kashmir team complained that they were yet to go on court. Their coach, Satpal Sharma, said: “There are very few courts. So the matches are getting delayed.”