Sirsa, Oct 1 (UNI) More than 3000 players are taking part in the XXI Haryana State Games being conducted by the Haryana Olympic Association (HOA), affiliated to the Indian Olympic Association and headed by Abhey Singh Chautala, at the Jan Nayak Ch Devi Lal Vidya Peeth sprawling complex here.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will inaugurate the three-day sports extravaganza tomorrow.
Teams from Yamunanagar, Bhiwani, Rohtak, Jind, Panipat, Fatehabad, Nidani, Kaithal, Sopnepat, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Ambala have already arrived and teams from remaining districts are on their way to Sirsa. They are expected to reach here tonight. More than 3000 players from 21 sports disciplines are taking part in the State Games.
The players had the feel of their grounds and had strenuous practice on the eve of the competitions. The State Games have assumed greater significance since the Haryana teams would be selected for the coming National Games to be held in Jharkhand.
Giving this information here this evening, HOA Secretary General Dr Mahinder Singh Malik, who along with competition director Hanuman Singh Bhadu and other technical officials inspected the venues, said that all leading players of the state are staking their claims for inclusion in the Haryana contingent for the Jharkhand Games. ''We do not want to involve politics in sports as political interference is harming the interest of the state players'', Dr Malik said.
HOA president Abhey Singh Chautala, himself a former volleyball player and Ajay Singh Chautala, president of the Table Tennis Federation of India and Member of Parliament, are personally taking interest in the State Games. Mr Abhey Chautala had even extended invitation to the Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda to be the chief guest and declare the State Games open.
However, the CM expressed his inability to attend the games since he would be pre-occupied with the Gandhi Jayanti.
Mr Badal will inaugurate the State Games while former Haryana Chief Minister Om Parkash Chautala will preside over the opening ceremony. A large number of dignitaries will be present on the occasion.
Renowned wrestler Geetika Jhakar, international thrower Sarog Sihag and Indian kabaddi captain Ram Mehar will be the torch bearers.
Meanwhile, the HOA will be honouring 152 players who had won medals in the Guwhati National Games on the opening and closing ceremonies. On the opening day, players to be felicitated are from hockey (women), equestrian, rifle shooting, wushu, fencing and weightlifting.
An exhibition kabaddi match between traditional rivals Haryana and Punjab will be part of the opening ceremony.