THE GOVERNMENT IN April this year announced the names of the players that have been selected for financial assistance under the Target Olympic Podium (TOP) for the upcoming Rio Olympics in 2016. The total amount would be Rs. 30.075 crore, of which Rs. 96.80 lakh has been released so far. This money would be spent on the players training preparation for the Olympics.
It is a long list of names that has players from athletes to shooters to wrestlers to boxers and shuttlers. There are six shuttlers' names included and they are: Saina Nehwal, P V Sindhu, P Kashyap, K Srikanth, Guru Saidutt and H S Prannoy. The names of Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa not being included came as a surprise. According to the Sports Ministry release, they have requested for their inclusion in the scheme. To this the ministry hinted that their names could be included later. The release said,
“There is provision for periodic review of performance of sportspersons, who reach the prescribed benchmark, for induction in the Scheme.”
So far there has been no news about their names being included even after their hard work and the success they have bought the country with their performance. It is an act of disrespect and they are being sidelined even after performing well for the country.
Their performance in the last two months have been commendable which has seen them climb up the ladder of the ranking in the doubles category. They rank 13th at the moment which is a commendable milestone. They have participated in the US Open and the Canada Open. At both the events their level of performance have impressed the lovers of the game. At the US Open they reached the semi-finals and they won the doubles title at the Canada Open.
Jwala Gutta has come out and made it clear that after all this they do deserve the support from the government so that they can grow even more. Jwala told PTI upon her arrival from Calgary:
"We need all the support that top players need. I think what the singles players are getting, if we get that kind of a support, I think Ashwini and me can win a medal at the Olympics, definitely. It will be great. At least now, people who are responsible wake up. I will be really happy,"
She also insisted that lack of support from the government would make it difficult for the youngsters to take up doubles.
"After Ashwini and me, I don't see anybody else coming up. You can see it. I stopped playing mixed doubles and there is no result in mixed doubles. I was world number six. People who are talking about me and my performance and questioning my career and my achievements, where is the next mixed doubles pair, please show it to me. I would like to know,"
Their ultimate aim is to win an Olympic medal for the country.
"The ultimate goal is Olympics. Before Olympics, any tournament we play and win is great. But, the ultimate goal is Olympics,"
Well, hopefully now the outrage will wake those up in authority and give them the needed support. It's not just the outrage, but also their performance that has to be taken into consideration for inclusion in the scheme.