A decision to this effect was taken at the state cabinet meeting held at Thiruvananthapuram the other day following a preliminery meeting chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and attended by Education Minister P K Abdu Rabb, Sports Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan and Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson.The decision would put an end to the uncertainty and confusion that prevailed on the conduct of the national meet which began after Maharashtra withdrew from its commitment as the original hosts. Earlier, the Maharashtra government had decided to conduct separate meets for boys and girls, which had snowballed into a controversy, with former athletes, including P T Usha and Anju Bobby George, protesting against it.
Earlier, Kerala had also decided not to host the 61st National School Athletic meet, because of three reasons – the SSLC examinations due in March, upcoming state youth festival and the Assembly polls.
Former sprint queen P T Usha was the first to criticise the Kerala Government after it decided against hosting the athletics competition of the National School Games citing the SSLC examinations and upcoming Assembly elections. Finally, the Government had to yield to the general sentiments of the sports persons across the state in favour of holding the national sports event in the state.
“We decided to conduct the meet in Kerala because we did not want our young athletes to suffer,” the Kerala Education minister P.K. Abdu Rabb told. “We know how much effort an athlete puts in over the year to become eligible to compete at the National School meet.” he added.
Kerala’s decision was also influenced by constant efforts put forth by sports persons P T Usha and Anju Bobby George.
Anju, who recently took over as the Kerala Sports Council president said Kozhikode has the best synthetic track available in the State and highly capable organisers as well.