They have done Madhya Pradesh proud and have represented the state and country at international sports meets.
The state has even recognised their achievements by honouring them with the Vikram award.
But when it came to offering jobs, the Madhya Pradesh government lagged far behind others.
Result: many players have either shifted base to other states or are thinking of doing so.
In end-August, appointments letters were handed over to Vikram award-winning spotspersons at the Shikhar Khel Alankaram Samaroh.
Most of them were disappointed to find that they were given clerical jobs that clearly didn’t fit their stature.
Said one of them on condition of anonymity, “The sports department may have good intentions, but those in the government should realise that when giving us jobs, they should judge us not by our academic qualification but by our feat in sports. Despite winning medals in the international arena, all I got was a lower division clerk’s job.”
“Madhya Pradesh is trying to promote its players, but when it comes to handing out jobs, it is far behind other states,” said another player who did not want to be named.
The migration of players from the state is happening slowly, but steadily. Wrestler Rohit Patel and volleyball player Jitendra Singh, both internationals, left the state for Railways and Haryana respectively because they weren’t satisfied by the jobs the MP government offered.
“I wanted to be in my home state. The MP government was providing me with a clerical job that I considered below my dignity to accept. I even asked the government to give me a job in the police force. That didn’t happen. I am still eager to serve Madhya Paresh, but only if I am offered a quality job,” Patel told HT.
The problem, it seems, is the state’s sports policy.
“We are aware that players are migrating to other states, but we are unable to do anything about this unless the policy is changed at the government level,” said a senior official of the directorate of sports.
“We have to follow the sports policy while handing out jobs. According to this, grade three jobs are offered to sportspersons who meet a certain criterion. They get the jobs without sitting for exams. If they are not satisfied with what has been given to them, they can apply for higher grade jobs,” M Mohan Rao, principal secretary, sports, told HT.