Our Sports Correspondent
Ludhiana, January 11
The arrival of participants from Orissa and Tamil Nadu here today has set the ball rolling for the National Games for Visually Impaired, which are scheduled to be held from January 13 to 15, at Guru Nanak Stadium.
Around 800 participants, including officials from as many as 20 states, are expected to take part in different track and field events in the three-day sports extravaganza to be organised by the state unit of Punjab under the aegis of the National Federation for Blinds.
Players have been categorized in two groups — up to 16 years and above 16 years — in the boys and girls, men and women sections, respectively.
Likewise, competitions will be held in three groups namely B-I (players who are totally blind); B-II (participants who can see up to 3 metre) and B-III (those who can see from 3 to 6 metre)
The district administration and the Sports Department, Punjab, are assisting the organisers in holding the meet, which is being conducted after a gap of six years.
Addressing a press conference, Gurpreet Singh Chahal, chief organiser of the games, said all arrangements for the mega event were complete. He thanked Amrit Kaur Gill, director, Sports, Punjab and the district administration for extending help.
Chahal expressed gratitude to the Sports Department, which had allowed them to use the stadium free of cost. He appreciated Kartar Singh Sehmbay, deputy director, sports and district sports officer, Ludhiana, for deputing staff to assist in holding the games.
He thanked the district administration for providing free transportation for players and officials, besides medical assistance during the course of games.
“The boarding and lodging arrangements for visiting participants have been made at the Vocational Rehabilitation Training Centre for Blinds (VRTC), located on Hambran Road, opposite Kitchlu Nagar,” said Chahal.
The first three positions holders in each event would be given medals and certificates, besides cash prizes worth Rs 3.5 lakh, he added.
The winner would receive cash prize of Rs 1,000 while the second position holder would get cash prize of Rs 700 and Rs 500 would be given to the participant finishing at the third place, he said.
Meals would be provided by Swami Shankranand Bhoori Wale, Talwandi Dham, while chief sewadar of the Sarbat Da Bhala Charitable Trust, Dr SP Singh Oberoi, would distribute track suits to all players competing in these games.
Dr Oberoi and Swami Shankranand will jointly declare the games open while Bharat Bhushan Ashu, MLA, will be the guest of honour on the occasion. Pardeep Aggarwal, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, will preside over the opening function.
Kartar Singh Sehmbay, Vivek Monga and Balwinder Singh Chahal, president and general secretary, respectively, of the organising association along with coaches Sanjeev Sharma, Makhan Singh, Gurnam Singh Kaler, Daljeet Singh Saluja and Balwant Singh Dhaliwal were among others present at the press conference.