After being honoured by Maha government, the Rio gold medalist says they have made a bold statement that sports persons belong to the entire nation
Unless he is not a decorated cricketer, government will not look up to the achiever with immense pride and discrimination is inevitable. The prejudice is even stark when para-athletes are involved. The prominent face who has brought India laurels twice in Paralympics, Devendra Jhajharia shared his disappointment over Rajasthan government’s apathy with ‘Caught In Slips’.
On Friday (June 9) the Rio Paralympics gold medalist Devendra Jhajharia received a cash award of Rs1 crore from the Maharashtra government. Thanking the government for rewarding him handsomely, the javelin thrower emphasized that a player does not belong to a particular state, but to the entire country, and this has been proved by them. Underlining the importance of the honour he said,
“Every state has a lesson to learn from this gesture of theirs. This will not only act as a motivator for others to take up sports but will also change the popular perception that sports can be a career option as well.”
The Padma Shri awardee’s tale of struggle is known to all. Coming from a very humble family of the Churu district in Rajasthan, he lost his left hand at the age of 8 when he accidently touched a live cable while climbing a tree. He is the most popular paralympian of the country who has to his name two gold medals that he won in 2004 in Athens and 2016 in Rio.
OUT-OF-TURN GOVT JOBS: GREAT BUT AMBIGUOUS
Voicing his opinion on the recent landmark decision by the Rajasthan state government to provide out-of-turn appointments to the national and international medalist sportspersons, Jhajharia opened a can of worms.
“I would like to congratulate Rajasthsn sports minister for introducing something as big as this. But, it still has loopholes. Firstly, there is a lot of disparity as the one who will partake in Olympics will get the same job opportunity as the one who wins gold in Paralympics. And you are giving Asiad gold medalist the cadre of RAS and the Paralympics medalist will get the post of state sub-ordinate services like RPS,” said the gutted gold medalist highlighting the disparity.
He also pointed out the ambiguous nature of the move saying that nowhere it is mentioned what the medal winner of Asiad Para games will get and though the government has announced jobs, it has not been stated as yet from when they will eventuate.
As per the approved rules by the state cabinet, the silver and bronze medal winners in Asiad and the winners and the runners-up of other world-level sports championship and those taking part in the Olympics, following qualifying will be given appointment in the state sub-ordinate services
Further highlighting the opacity Jhajharia said, “Moreover, they have stated that within three years of winning the medal players will have to apply for the job. So that means the ones who won medals in 2014 can apply too, but as we have no idea from which date we can start applying for the job, it has left everyone perplexed.”
Till date, the Paralympian’s achievements have come on his own dime.
“Whatever I have achieved is solely on the basis of my individual efforts. State government extended no help. Sportspersons were promised Rs10 lakh for Olympics and Paralympics training, but we got not a single penny.”
Just like bad workers always blame the tools, when he thought to clear the air, state sports minister Gajendra Singh Khimsar passed on the blame on finance department. “He said that the department did not clear the file. By making such announcements they hog on the applause but don’t deliver,” he added.
WHAT OTHER STATE GOVTS DID
Mincing no words, the two time Paralympics gold medalist expressed irony over the stark difference between how the paralympians in other states and Rajasthan are felicitated.
“Maharashtra government gave Rs75 lakh to the Olympics participant Lalita Babar and here I received the same amount for winning gold in Paralympics. Rajasthan government must give this a thought. ” At the same time, the Maharashtra government has awarded his coach from Haryana Sunil Tawar with Rs25 lakh.
Moreover, the Government of Tamil Nadu awarded Rs2 crore to Mariyappan Thangavelu for winning gold in men’s high jump while the high jump bronze medalist Varun Bhati was given Rs1 crore by the UP government. Also, Haryana government rewarded the silver medalist Deepa Malik, who is the first Indian woman to win a medal in Paralympics, with the cash prize of Rs4 crore.