New Delhi: Days ahead of the 12th South Asian Games, a possible farcical situation was avoided following a telephonic discussion between Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma and union minister of minister of youth affairs and sports Sarbananda Sonowal.
Meghalaya, which is a co-host of the multi-sporting event, threatened to avoid the games over moves to change the badminton venue, from Shillong to Guwahati. The protest gained further traction with the involvement of Sangma, and Sonowal was reportedly forced to call the chief minister to settle the matter.
Sonowal called up Sangma after the chief minister directed the state's representatives to boycott the meeting of the executive committee of the games to be held here on January 11, reported The Times of India.
After the call, venue of the badminton event of the games has been confirmed as Shillong.
A report in PTI confirmed the development with Meghalaya Olympic Association President John F Kharshiing saying, "We have just received the information from Meghalaya government that badminton will be held in Shillong as earlier scheduled. Meghalaya officials will attend the EC meeting on Monday."
Another official said now "Meghalaya will not withdraw as co-hosts of the Games. The matter has been sorted out now."
The SAI Sports Centre at Shillong's North East Hill University, which is a multipurpose indoor stadium, was reportedly found not suitable by the Badminton Association of India officials owing to poor lighting and lack of wooden flooring for the warm-up courts.
National badminton coach Pullela Gopichand was to fly to Shillong yesterday from New Delhi to inspect the venue at the Meghalaya capital but could not do that as his flight was cancelled due to foggy conditions at the National Capital.
Gopichand was to inspect the venue on January 13 but the matter has already been resolved.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to open the games in Guwahati on February 5, which is being co-hosted by Assam and Meghalaya from February 5 to 16.