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Pacific School Games controversy; Ministry not always to be blamed

A video showing girls’ hockey team from selected Indian schools protesting against lack of support from the Indian government during the Pacific School Games in Australia surfaced on social media. The video went viral with common people blaming the government for lack of provision to a representing team on foreign soil. But is the government really to be blamed in certain cases?

In this type of school games, the government generally do not fund the tours. Such games are facilitated by the School Games Federation of India (SFGI). The SGFI is an independently registered body affiliated with the International School Sport Federation (ISF). The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports give recognition to these types of registered body.

Government sources said that the Hockey India has neither approved nor sanctioned the tour. The Sports Authority of India clearly stated that no sanction or approval for travel has been accorded to the team and coach Pradeep Kumar. However, sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has ordered a probe in the matter.

Following the spread of this news, the local Indian-Australian community has come forward to help the visiting team. Adelaide Sikhs Hockey Club has released a statement that the issue has been resolved with an active participation from the local community.

“The social media video has unnecessarily created this scene. The Indian sports teams have been offered facility of free usage of public transport by the organisers, but they couldn’t avail it properly,” said Sukhwant Singh of Adelaide Sikhs Hockey Club.

Forum for Indian Australian, a community group, that specifically focus on social issues specific to the Indian-Australian community, has also provided insight on the matter. Coach Pradeep Kumar also clarified that though there was some initial miscommunication the situation is under control now.

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