Sakshi Malik received Rs 2.5 crore from the Haryana government for winning the Bronze medal at The Rio Olympics. Is it unfair that she wants the rest of the promises made to her fulfilled as well?
It is an unfortunate truth that in India, sportsmen, except for cricketers, receive very little support from the government and sports authorities. Either due to corruption or apathy, the budget set aside for various sports rarely translates to quality training facilities and infrastructure of international standards. This is doubly true for sportswomen, who face even more of a Cinderella treatment.
The incident involving marathon runner O.P. Jaisha at the Rio Olympics is proof of the sorry state of affairs involving our sportswomen. Jaisha had spoken about her unfortunate experience as she was not provided any water and energy drinks by the officials despite India being allotted designated stations.
“It was very hot. The competition was at 9 a.m., I ran in scorching heat. There was no water. Neither was there recovery drinks nor food. Only once in 8km did we get water (from the Rio organisers), which did not help at all. All the countries had their stalls every 2km but our country’s stall was empty,” said Jaisha, who finished 89th in the women’s marathon event and collapsed at the finish line after completing the marathon and had to be rushed to a hospital.
Finally, when the women who compete in international competitions after a long struggle, attain the glory of a medal win, the authorities wake up and offer them all kinds of awards and rewards. But many a time, even these belated promises are not kept up.
In a series of tweets, 24-year-old Sakshi Malik, who brought home a bronze medal for wrestling, questioned whether the state administration’s declarations were ‘only for the media’.
Two days back, Haryanvi girl Sakshi took to Twitter to question the Haryana government for not delivering on the promises made after her success at the 2016 Rio Games. She thanked Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s government for the ‘monetary appreciation’ (Rs 2.5 crore) that she received but claimed the other promises remain unfulfilled.
“Medal ka vada maine pura kiya, Haryana sarkar apna vada kab pura karegi? (I fulfilled my promise of winning an Olympic medal for the country, when will the Haryana government fulfil its promises?),” Malik said, tagging Union Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Vijay Goel in her tweets as well.
The Haryana administration had announced a Rs 2.5-crore reward as well as a government job after Malik’s win at the Olympics. Her father told the media, “It is not about the Rs 2.5 crore we got, it is about the other promises they made, including building a stadium in our village.”
The state government had also promised that Sakshi would be appointed the wrestling director at Maharshi Dayanand University in her home town, Rohtak.
Sakshi had returned from last year’s Olympics to a rousing welcome. She even had a conversation with Prime Minister Modi after being conferred the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award. The PM had light-heartedly told her 'maarna mat mujhe' (I hope you won't hit me).
After the high of being in the national limelight, the young wrestler seems to have fallen victim to the Indian government’s notorious ‘out of sight, out of mind’ style of dealing with sportspersons and has already started feeling forgotten.