No job yet for Asian Games medal winners even after three years

V K Vismaya
V K Vismaya was part of the Indian women's relay team which won the 4x400m gold at Jakarta 2018. File photo: R S Gopan

Kottayam: The Kerala government had promised jobs to athletes P U Chitra, V K Vismaya, Neena Pinto and Muhammed Anas after they won medals at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. Three years have passed since, but the government has failed to keep its promise so far. They have been knocking on the doors of the authorities concerned, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Minister for General Education V Sivankutty, but their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

The 'job offer' was made at a function organised to felicitate the medal winners upon their return from Jakarta. The government promised that those who were employed in other states would be awarded jobs under sports quota in Kerala. After the athletes submitted their applications through respective district collectors, the General Administration Department sanctioned the creation of the post of 'sports coordinators' under the General Education Department to recruit them. However, the file pertaining to the job offer has since been stuck in the corridors of governance.

"People tell us that we need to track the file and ensure its movement from one office to another. All of us are at the national camp now. Since we do not even get time to go home and visit our family, how can we go to each office and get things done? It is the government who offered us the job and accepted our applications, isn't it?" asks Vismaya, who was a member of the gold-medal winning 4x400 metre women's relay team.

"We were hoping to get a favourable response from the authorities. Unfortunately, they paid no heed," says a visibly upset Neena, who won silver medal in long jump at the Asian Games.

Official sources said that the delay was caused by the current COVID-19 crisis, and the recruitment process will be completed in due course. 

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