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Give young athletes facilities they deserve

Yesterday, this paper reported about an Under-14 football tourney being played at the Azad Maidan and the lack of basic medical facilities on site. A 13-year-old student who was participating in the event fractured his left leg during play. The boy cracked the shinbone (tibia) of his left leg while getting tackled. He did not get immediate first aid and was finally taken to hospital on a scooter by his coach and a schoolteacher.

While ground authorities and organisers pass the buck, it is vital that all first aid measures and basic facilities like changing rooms, showers and toilets are in good condition at playgrounds and maidans in the city. Shower facilities are pathetic and there are no decent changing rooms or toilets for the players, which poses a major problem, especially for girls.

Sponsors of tournaments should get themselves involved beyond just doling out money. They should coerce those in charge into upgrading facilities to ensure good participation. They should refuse to sponsor events if basic guidelines of medical facilities such as a doctor on call, a stretcher, an accessible ambulance and other hygiene requirements are not met.

If India aspires to become a sporting power, we should act like one. If we garner hopes of clinching some medals at international level such as Olympics, we must begin at the roots, which is at school level.

Giving training facilities to youngsters, would mean that these young athletes might grow up into becoming the champions of tomorrow.

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