At a time when sporting bigwigs are claiming that the nation is heading towards multi-sporting excellence, comes this shocking report of a 19-year-old wrestler succumbing to injuries caused by inadequate infrastructure facilities. Lofty promises mean little if the reality is so appalling at the grassroots level.
The teenager from Pune died during the selection trials of an upcoming state-level wrestling competition. He was wrestling on a cemented floor in the scorching heat. Instead of regulation mats, the participants were made to wrestle on plastic mats over a cemented floor. But often, due to soaring temperatures, these plastic mats melt under the blazing sun.
During the game, the wrestler hurt his spinal cord, but since there were no basic first aid facilities on site, he was immediately rushed to hospital. He succumbed to his injuries a day later. The hospital cited a number of medical complications arising out of high temperatures, cemented floor and the lack of first aid facilities.
It’s shocking that there was such poor arrangement at a state-level competition. This paper has often reported about school and college level matches, in different sporting events, in which our young athletes were not provided changing rooms. Often young girls are urged to change into their sports uniforms inside a school bus. Showers are missing in so many stadiums, grounds are often seen in unkempt condition, and gears and equipment are either rusty or simply old and unusable. Now, if even the basic first aid kit is missing, it’s just a disaster waiting to happen.
Sports and injuries are known to go hand-in-hand, especially if it’s a sport that requires body contact. Callous decisions of the wresting competition organisers have cost a teen his life. Let’s honour him and family by ensuring poor infrastructure does not claim more lives in our country.
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