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Reward for sportspersons, not sports

- Cash prize for 263 players, governor reminder on varsity project

Ranchi, April 11: The state today loosened its purse strings to reward hundreds of players for keeping Jharkhand’s flag flying high in several events in the past one year.

The move, aimed at boosting the morale of sportspersons and thus promote sports, would have appeared more than mere lip service had the state given equal attention to its existing infrastructure that play a crucial role in grooming of players.

At today’s event at State Museum, around 263 players from across various disciplines bagged cash prizes to the tune of over Rs 77 lakh for winning medals at state and national-level events.

Congratulating the winners, governor Syed Ahmed, who was the chief guest, said they were shining glory of Jharkhand. “I am very happy to present awards to our players. These prizes will drive them to pursue their game even better,” he said.

“Sports is not only for entertainment, it helps in overall development of one’s personality. Such recognition will encourage new players to come forward, which will ultimately benefit the state in totality,” he added.

Much as he appreciated the players, the governor also laid stress on proper supportive infrastructure. Ahmed reminded about the proposed sports varsity in Hotwar, which was mooted in 2011 after the success of 34th National Games.

However, nothing concrete happened even though the mandarins of sports department, led by its then head Sudesh Mahto, made a couple of foreign trips to build know-how for the multi-crore project.

“There is a huge scope of development through sports in Jharkhand. It’s a place that gave the country and world many top players. I expect the sports department to work on the pending projects at the earliest,” said Ahmed.

He also laid equal stress on conducting state sports events like Panchayat Yuva Krida Khel Abhiyan on time.

Some of the prominent sportspersons who were awarded ace archers Deepika Kumari, Jayant Talukdar, Jhanu Hansda, Shaheen Parveen, Etwari Mundu and Sushila Lakra. Many of them rued about lack of support in the state. “Whoever wins medal, it’s always on their own merit. But we would have excelled more had there been better co-operation from the administration in terms of proper training, practice, venues etc,” said one of the awardees.

A glaring example of this state apathy is the condition of the state-of-the-art mega sports complex in Hotwar, which is in dire need of maintenance and upkeep.

Sports director Ashok Kumar, who took charge a few months back, said: “The department is working on ways to make the pending projects a reality. We are trying to the best of my abilities.”

Many awardees at the function, however, were upset that outstation players also pocketed the cash. “Everything is about commission,” rued an official of the swimming association.