The district sports officer in Saharanpur has been suspended by the Uttar Pradesh government following reports that kabaddi players were given food that was kept on the floor of a restroom in the neighbourhood sports complex. A large plate of cooked rice was initially left on the floor of a restroom complex at the Dr. Bhimrao Sports Stadium in Saharanpur, according to videos that have since gained widespread distribution. Later, 200 players competing in a three-day state-level under-17 girls’ kabaddi tournament received the cooked rice.
When the images went viral on September 18, Saharanpur’s (now suspended) sports officer Animesh Saxena dismissed the accusations as unfounded. “The players are given high-quality food here. Near the swimming pool, food was prepared in a traditional brick oven using large pots, including rice and dal sabzi. Due to a lack of space, Saxena claimed that the food was prepared close to the stadium’s swimming pool. According to some reports, the food was also kept in a “changing room.”
According to reports, a few players brought up the issue with a stadium official, who then spoke with sports office Animesh Saxena, who “reprimanded” the cooks. The controversy was rekindled on Tuesday after videos showed kabaddi players receiving food inside the restroom and removing their plates to eat. Men’s restrooms can be seen in the video directly across from where the players could self-serve their own food. The Yogi Adityanath administration was criticised by opposition parties in a tweet, which claimed that the government was spending a lot of money on “false advertisements” but was unable to give kabaddi players better facilities.
By Subhechcha Ganguly
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