Thiruvananthapuram : VK Vismaya, an esteemed athlete hailing from Kerala who represented the nation in the Asian Games, has voiced her frustration over unmet promises of government employment. She vividly expresses her disillusionment, stating, “It’s been years of waiting, and there’s nowhere left to get on and off.” Vismaya, a gold medalist in the women’s relay at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games, is among a group of Kerala athletes who clinched medals at the prestigious event but are still waiting for the assured government jobs.
The Kerala government had pledged job opportunities to the victorious Malayali athletes who brought glory to the state by securing medals in the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games. VK Vismaya, however, shared with Janam TV that despite numerous attempts and years of anticipation, she finds herself repeatedly entangled in bureaucratic red tape. This commitment was initially made during the tenure of EP Jayarajan as Sports Minister. While the government claims that the necessary steps have been taken, including the creation of files and placement under the public education department, the promised employment remains elusive.
Hima Das, an integral member of the women’s 4×400 relay gold-winning team in the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games alongside VK Vismaya, has ascended to the position of Deputy Superintendent of Police in Assam. Similarly, Saritaben Gayakwad, another member of the victorious squad, now holds the role of DySP in the Gujarat Police Force. M. R. Poovamma, who clinched glory as part of the team, was already an officer at ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation) during the Asian Games. Vismaya, however, bemoans the disparity between the recognition and opportunities received by Kerala athletes in contrast to their counterparts from other states. He emphasises that athletes from Kerala should not have to navigate the same complexities for employment.
The list of awaiting athletes includes 2018 Jakarta Asian Games gold medalist VK Vismaya, mixed relay gold winner and 400m silver medalist Muhammad Anas, silver medalists Nina Pinto (long jump), P. Kunhu Muhammed (men’s 4×400 relay), and bronze medalist PU Chitra (1500m). While the government initiated the application process through district collectors and pledged dream jobs to these athletes, reality paints a different picture.
VK Vismaya’s journey, spanning five years of rigorous training under the guidance of SA and the Athletics Federation of India, is a testament to her dedication to the sport. She was a vital part of the mixed relay Olympic qualifying team during the 2019 World Athletics Championships. Nonetheless, the prolonged uncertainty about the promised government job has cast a shadow over his aspirations and those of his fellow athletes.