India’s star wrestler Vinesh Phogat (53kg), has qualified for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, but she is among the elite athletes who are still waiting to hear from the state government. Haryana government had promised its star sportspersons – including world medallists and wrestler Bajrang Punia, boxers Amit Panghal and Manoj Kumaris – with potential jobs two years ago. Now, state authorities seem to be struggling to make good on its promise.

Under the Haryana Outstanding Sportspersons scheme (September 5, 2018), it was announced that gold medalists at the Asian Games will be appointed Group A (Class-I) officers while silver winners and Commonwealth Games gold medallists will be given Group A jobs, that include in Haryana Civil Service and Haryana Police Service. The railways also promised to promote wrestlers Punia and Vinesh to the rank of a gazetted officer after they won gold medals at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta in 2018.

Phogat, who became the first Indian woman wrestler to win an Asiad gold in the 50 kg women’s freestyle final, is yet to hear from the government. Other athletes who are awaiting jobs are track stars Neeraj Chopra, Manjit Chahal and Seema Antil-Punia and para-athletes Amit Saroha and Ekta Byan, according to WrestlingTV.

What You Should Know

  • Haryana Government is struggling to keep up its promise of giving jobs to star athletes like Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat.
  • Haryana state policy states that gold medalists at the Asian Games will be appointed at govt. jobs.
  • Vinesh is one of India’s biggest medal hopefuls at the 2021 Tokyo Games.

Most of these sportspersons are busy preparing for the Tokyo Olympics, scheduled for next year. Last year reportedly at least over 30 sportspersons, who won silver and bronze medals at Asian and Commonwealth Games, were appointed in different sectors by the state govt.

“When the bronze medalists in the same Games have got jobs, what’s the crime the gold-medal winners have done?” asks Manjit Chahal, 800m winner at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games, HT reported.

Also Read: Vinesh Phogat Story, the Girl next door to Olympics 2020

Going to Tokyo Olympics 2020

In 2016, Vinesh (then aged 21) was one of the favourites to win a medal for India at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. But the youngest from a family of distinguished women wrestlers had met with a knee injury which forced her out of the tournament. Vinesh now wants an Olympics medal. She sealed an Olympic berth in her 53 kg weight category after finishing on the podium at last year’s World Wrestling Championships.

Punia, who got the Arjuna award in 2015 and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna last year, said, “I’m ready to work in Haryana provided I get a job commensurate with my credentials.”

Recently on July 30, wrestler and BJP leader Babita Phogat along with 2014 Asian Games kabbadi gold medallist Kavita Devi have been appointed as deputy directors (Group A job) in the Sports and Youth Affairs Department in Haryana.

Also Read: Years After String of Feats, Wrestler Family Fights For Their Due

Picture credit: Wrestlingtv/Facebook

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