Adding to woes: Only gold medalists will be Excellent Sportspersons!

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At a time when sportspersons of the state are passing through the most difficult phase of their career due to the Covid-19 pandemic, an amendment to the existing sports policy, reportedly proposed by the Sports Department Committee, may provide a jolt to the dreams of many sporting talents. It was learned that the proposal recommending amendment in the policy has been moved to the competent authorities in the state government.

A three-member team led by the Sports Director has reportedly recommended an amendment to the criteria of Excellent Sportsperson, claimed highly placed sources in the department. If sources are to be believed, sportspersons winning Gold in the national level events will be kept in the category of Excellent Sportspersons in the state while the criteria for Excellent Sportspersons has so far been for those winning medals, including Gold, Silver and Bronze, in national tournaments.

If the amendments, reportedly proposed by the sports department, are approved, only gold medallists will be eligible for government jobs on sports quota while silver and bronze medallists will be deprived of it, said sources on condition of anonymity.

Sport Department Director Sweta Sinha however refused to comment on the matter stating, “this is a departmental procedure and I cannot say anything on this matter,”.

Meanwhile, the proposed amendment has not gone down well with the sports fraternity of Chhattisgarh.  According to the office bearers of various sports bodies, Chhattisgarh hardly manage to win five-six medals in the national level sports and gold medal rarely comes to the share of Chhattisgarh players. The proposed amendment will adversely affect the future of many sportspersons of Chhattisgarh if it comes into effect, they said.

Saba Anjum, Padma Shri, and Arjuna Award recipient and one of the key members of Sports Department Committee dealing with Excellent Sportsperson matter said that she was present in the first meeting of the committee after which another meeting was held recently. “I was not present in the second meeting and therefore I cannot say about it,” said the former Indian Women team member Saba who is currently serving as DSP in Chhattisgarh police. She, however, said that the best should get the benefits of government facilities and whatever is the best for sportspersons will be done. Only an outstanding player can understand the importance of a government job and therefore an outstanding player should be given opportunity, said the youngest of all participants in the hockey competition at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

Meanwhile, a senior sportsperson commented that if the government wants to promote a sporting culture it should have a lenient approach and in sports, participation is more important and not winning gold. At least the elected state government should not forget this motto and play into the hands of few bureaucrats.     

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