Ahead of the upcoming National Games, several noted sportspersons from Kerala have decided to leave the state over the shabby treatment by the local government.
The likes of Eldhose Paul and Abdulla Aboobacker, who made history by winning the gold and silver, respectively, in the men’s triple jump final at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham last year, have said they won’t represent Kerala at the National Games, which is scheduled to be held in Goa from October 26 to November 9.
Their decision comes days after the star badminton player had announced that he is shifting his base from Kerala and he would be representing Tamil Nadu from the next Senior National Badminton Championship onwards.
According to reports , Prannoy hadn’t even received a phone call from the State Government or Kerala Badminton Association when he won a medal in the world badminton championship. His announcement came after he won bronze in individual and silver medal in group category at the Asian Games, which concluded in Hangzhou on Sunday.
On the other hand, Eldhose and Abdulla also alleged that they did not receive even a congratulatory message from the people helming the state sports department after their Commonwealth Games success. This is at a time when other states were lauding and celebrating their athletes with cash prizes and other recognitions.
The reports further said that Eldhose, a native of Kolenchery in Ernakulam district, has decided to apply for a No Objection Certificate from the Kerala State Athletics Association so that he could relocate either to Tamil Nadu or Odisha.
Meanwhile, Kerala’s leader of opposition VD Satheesan wrote letters to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and state Sports Minister V Adbdurahiman and asked for their immediate intervention to stop athletes from leaving the state.
Satheesan pointed out in the letter that the decision from star athletes will weaken the state’s sports sector.
“It has been noticed that the media is continuously reporting that athletes are leaving Kerala because of the neglect of the state government and the sports department. After international badminton player HS Prannoy, international triple jump stars Eldhose Paul and Abdullah Aboobacker have announced that they are leaving Kerala. No doubt this will cripple the state’s sports sector,” says the letter.
“Many stars have not yet received the rewards announced by the government. There are many sportspersons who have been visiting government offices for jobs since more than five years.
“The government should seriously consider the issues raised by athletes who have won medals for the country. All possible steps should be taken by the government to avoid the situation where Malayali athletes who are the pride of the country, leave the state. There should be immediate intervention to provide the jobs and rewards announced by the government,” the letter adds.
Reacting to the allegations, state sports minister Adbdurahiman wrote in his Facebook that the government provided financial support for the training of Prannoy and Rs 5 lakh after he won the Thomas Cup.