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Failed Promises: Divya Kakran's situation is one in a long line of broken commitments

Failed Promises: Divya Kakrans situation is one in a long line of broken commitments
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Published: 8 Sep 2018 1:03 PM GMT
Some things never change. Post Asiad, various state governments announced cash prizes for medal winners. The prizes were to commemorate their achievements in Indonesia and to help them invest in their future. While most of the sportswomen and men were given their respective prizes, there were some that were ignored. Divya Kakran recently shot into the limelight after she slammed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for "broken promises". She mentioned that the state had promised her help after she bagged a medal at the Commonwealth games but that turned out to be hollow as the Asian Games saw her compete with minimum support as well. Frustrated with the lack of support, it has been a few months that Divya started competing as a wrestler from the state of Uttar Pradesh instead of Delhi.
On his part, the Delhi CM was quick to defend his Cabinet saying that none of his policies were allowed to be effective and obstacles were created by the Centre. Divya, however, was not pacified. Over the years, there have been stories of constant tussles between athletes and the State Government have emerged. While some have seen athletes asking for unreasonable sums of money with no justification, there have been valid instances of prize money being delayed by the respective State Governments. However, this is not a situation that is completely new to Indian sports. In fact, such circumstances arise after every major tournament. Here are some such incidents:

The Phogat family

The Phogat sisters were thrown into the limelight after the hit movie Dangal. However, even before that, Indian spots aficionados knew about and followed the sisters. As a result, it came as a shock when they accused the Haryana Government of not giving them their cash prize even after four years! The sisters were promised cash rewards amounting to Rs. Fifty Five Lakhs (55,00,000) in 2012. In 2016, they still hadn't received the money. Their father, Mahabir Phogat even wrote to the respective authorities in order to help them with the situation.

Sakshi Malik and the Haryana Govt

Following in the footsteps of the Phogat Sisters, was grappler Sakshi Malik. She voiced her displeasure in 2017, over the cash money not being awarded to her. The award, in question, was promised to her after her medal-winning performance at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Deaflympics medalist given part of promised amount

There was another incident involving the Haryana state athletes, who once again, were not provided with their dues. This time, it was the Indian Deaflympics team. Four Indian sportspersons, all from Haryana, won a medal each at last year's Deaflympics. As a result, they became liable to cash award by the state government. However, once again, they were
not given their dues
. Even when they were paid, they were paid partially. Haryana announced cash awards for Paralympians equivalent to Olympic prizes: Rs. 6 crore to gold medalists, Rs. 4 crore to silver medalists, and Rs. 2.5 crore to bronze medalists. Virender Singh was paid 1.2 crores for his Gold in 2017 while two Bronze medalists Amit and Sumit were paid 60 lakhs in May this year after a long and drawn out period of protest. As a result, the Haryana Government made sure that the same doesn't happen again and have been quick to announce awards for their various sportspersons. The state's sports minister Anil Vij announced earlier that the Asiad Gold medalists from Haryana will be given Rs. Three Crores (3,00,00,000), while the Silver medalists Rs. One Crore and Fifty Lakhs (1,50,00,000). The Bronze medalists will receive Rs. Seventy-five Lakhs (75,00,000). So far the requirements have been met.

The delayed monetisation of Saina Nehwal's Olympic medal

One of India's best shuttlers had to go through the same circumstances. Saina Nehwal was promised a cash prize of Rs. Fifty Lakhs (50,00,000) after her medal-winning exploits during the 2012 Olympic Games. However, Nehwal tweeted in 2014 stating that she had yet to any of the money.  Once again, it is unclear whether the situation did resolve itself in the future. Although it did leave one of India's best in a foul mood.

Gururaja Poojary and the 2018 Commonwealth Games

The Karnataka Government was also roped into this entire issue when they were accused by Weightlifter Gururaja Poojary of not paying him his cash prize. Gururaja had won a Silver medal at this year's Commonwealth Games, thus enabling himself for the prize. Since situations such as these usually follow major tournaments, they tend to turn a moment of joy into something sour. Sadly, this is a trend that has been going on for far too long; and even if there has been some progress made in this sphere, there is still a lot to be done.
Also read: Scandals in Indian Sport: Moving beyond #SandpaperGate
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