Differently abled javelin player Anurag Chandra tried to set himself on fire during the Khel Samman Samaroh on Thursday to demand parity in cash prizes with general players.
The art, culture and youth affairs department organised the prize distribution ceremony at SK Memorial Hall in Patna to celebrate National Sports Day. As many as 198 national- and international-level sportspersons were conferred cash prizes up to Rs 31,000, certificates and citations.
However, Gaurichak resident Chandra — one of the awardees — tried to immolate himself on stage in protest against general and differently abled players being felicitated with dissimilar prize amounts.
Once he sprinkled kerosene on himself, police present at the venue took him away. Ten agitating sportspersons were detained at the Gandhi Maidan police station.
Rakesh Kumar, one among the protesters, said: “We have visited chief minister Nitish Kumar’s janata durbar thrice to demand proper infrastructure for ourselves. A few months ago, he had announced speedy recruitment of differently abled players but no action has been taken yet. We (differently abled players) have been ill-treated since ages. Like the Haryana government, we demand the state government to help medal winners among us with Rs 1 lakh.”
On Thursday, apart from differently abled sportspersons, players from fields such as chess, football, golf, modern pentathlon and billiards were felicitated for their contribution in 2012-13. While general players in single categories were awarded up to Rs 11,000, the differently abled singles players were conferred prizes up to Rs 7,000.
For some, it was an evening of pride and not agitation though.
Golfer Aman Raj, 19, who represented India in RYO Ishikawa World Junior Golf Championship in Japan, was felicitated with Rs 21,000.
“I feel honoured. This is a good initiative of the government to encourage players. Financial support is always needed for players at any stage,” he said.