Thiruvananthapuram: In the wake of their remarkable achievements at the Asian Games, Keralite sportspersons find themselves in a situation of neglect as the Kerala state government remains silent on their achievements. Despite a financial crisis, the athletes who brought pride to the nation have reportedly been left without due recognition and appreciation.
There are 11 Keralite athletes among the Indian team that achieved significant success at the Asian Games 2023. The medalists, who have showcased their talent on an international platform, are disheartened as awards and accolades seem to elude them while other states commend their athletes.
A striking concern is the apparent lack of acknowledgment from both the state government and sports authorities, leaving the athletes feeling neglected. Even after the controversy surrounding neglect, Minister MB Rajesh made a visit to congratulate M. Sreeshankar at home, while Sports Minister V. Abdurahiman maintained silence on the matter.
In contrast, other state governments have stepped up to recognise and reward their athletes generously. The Haryana government has announced cash awards of Rs. 3 crores for gold winners, Rs. 1.5 crores for silver winners, and Rs. 75 lakhs for bronze winners, along with Rs 75 lakh for those representing the country. Odisha, Punjab, Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh have also declared financial rewards for their athletes.
Ajay Kumar Saroj, who won silver in the men’s 1500m athletics, received Rs 1.5 crore from the Uttar Pradesh government.
Meanwhile, Jinson Johnson, who secured bronze in the same event, reportedly received no recognition from the Kerala government.
Rajesh Ramesh, a Tamil Nadu native who won gold in the men’s relay team, received Rs 50 lakh, while Amoj Jacob. However, it is disheartening that Muhammad Ajmal and Muhammad Anas, also part of the same team, have allegedly not received any appreciation.
The list of Keralite athletes facing neglect from the Kerala government includes PR Sreejesh, Minnu Mani, Deepika Pallikal, HS Prannoy, NC Sojan, and MR Arjun, further highlighting the pressing issue of recognising and supporting the achievements of these athletes who have brought glory to the nation.