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One-time grant offer irks athlete

Guwahati, Aug. 17: Former international athlete and veteran sports organiser Tayabun Nisha has expressed anguish over being extended a one-time grant by the state government instead of a sports pension and has refused to accept it.

The first woman athlete from Assam to figure in the Indian contingent for Asian Games said she has felt “insulted” by the government, as she has been placed in a bracket of sportspersons and organisers “whose contribution towards the state’s sports was far below” her.

“This is an insult to me. If the state government cannot recognise my achievement, they should not insult me. Even after being the first woman from the state to represent the nation in the Asian Games, the state government could not offer me a livelihood. It was Indian Railways that recognised my achievement and gave me a job,” Nisha told The Telegraph.

“If this is the government’s attitude towards sportspersons of yesteryears, I am sure the new generation will not at all be motivated to take up sports as a profession,” she said.

The one-time grant comprises Rs 40,000 and a citation. The sports pension comprises Rs 4,000 per month to the beneficiaries.

“This year’s list of pensioners comprises many whose achievement is comparatively less than mine,” the discus thrower said.

Sources in the state sports department said the government has adopted a policy of not granting pension to anyone who has been drawing pension from another government agency.

“Tayabun Nisha is a pensioner of Indian Railways. Hence, she could not fit into the sports pensioners’ list,” an official said.