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Two-time Olympian Boxer Manoj Kumar has now accused the Sports Authority of India of not providing him with funds to treat an injury procured at the recent Asian Games despite repeated promises, the Indian Express reports. His coach and elder brother Rajesh Rajound wrote a letter to the Sports Minister highlighting this issue on Feb 4.
“After assuring us for months, SAI told us at the last moment that we can’t help you because your name is not in the TOPS (Target Olympic Podium Scheme) list or in the ongoing national camp,” Manoj was quoted as saying.
Talking about the Asian Games where he lost in the second round of competition, Manoj said, “In the first fight, my opponent hit me below the belt. It’s normal in boxing, but the next day I felt it again in the second fight. After we came back, we discussed this issue. Then I was under TOPS, so my diagnosis was done at Mumbai’s Kokilaben hospital late September, and the total expenditure was Rs 5,30,400.”
Manoj has been diagnosed with “a stress fracture in his left hip joint.”
Manoj’s older brother in addition to the boxer himself claims that medical reports and all data required have already been sent to the Ministry but they are yet to hear back on a concrete plan which would see his financial bills covered.
A SAI source told The Bridge, “He was supported under TOPS scheme and was even sent for treatment to Mumbai in 2018 by SAI. That support could not be continued since he could not be included in TOPS because of his dipping performance.”
“He is a railway employee and such a senior player, it is interesting that he is not approaching the railways for any assistance,” the official added.
PTI quoted an anonymous SAI official saying that Manoj reportedly hid his injuries to continue being a part of National Camps. As the situation stands, the boxer is no longer a part of the National Camp ongoing at NIS Patiala. The Indian Express also reports that the Boxing Federation of India has since agreed to help out financially and also helped find a sponsor who would be providing Rs 1.5 lakhs. The rest was promised to be taken care of by BFI.