Madhya Pradesh with a total medal tally of 91 medals in recently held Kerala National Games appeared impressive. But unfortunately it’s not due to grooming of indigenous talent in the state as much as "poaching" of talent from other states by offering them hefty cash reward and other incentives.
Out of total medals, 24 medals including 10 gold were won by players of other states including West Bengal, Karnataka, Delhi and Haryana. Among them, there are many, who never visited MP but represented the state as they were offered good cash reward. MP is one state, which gives highest cash reward to a player for bagging a medal in a national games.
MP government gives Rs 4 lakh to gold medal winner, Rs 3.2 lakh to silver and Rs2.4 lakh to bronze medallists. The gold medal winner in team event gets Rs 2 lakh and Rs 1.6 lakh for silver medal and Rs 1.2 lakh for bronze medal.
With an objective to increase ranking and number of medals in national games, MP sports associations and government are following the policy of 'poaching' athletes from other states for the past two national games.
Even, in the national games at Jharkhand in 2011, MP government had given highest prize money of `17 lakh to International swimmer Sandeep Sejwal, who takes training in Delhi and hails from Karnataka but represented MP.
Sportspersons and experts feel that it is injustice with MP players as government spends lakh of rupees in the form of incentives on players of other states just for representation but government never tried to groom talents of MP.
A player, on the condition of anonymity, said, "In this National Games, we can see motivation among players but unfortunately it is more among the players of other states than our state. Last year, only one swimmer Sandeep Sejwal represented MP, this year three other swimmers, Aaron Agnel D’souza of Karnataka, Richa Mishra of Delhi and Arjun Jayaprakash of Karnataka participated in the games."
"MP government’s reliance on talents fro0m other states also brought slur to the state when West Bengal Olympic Association raised question over gymnast Pranti Nayak for represent MP as Pranti belongs to West Bengal and is being trained at SAI Centre in West Bengal," he added.
"MP sports department wakes up at eleventh hour and to shine in the games, they bring champions from other states to represent MP. Instead of paying attention to the games at the last minute, MP government should groom talents of MP which will not only motivate players of the state but by providing cash reward to our own players, they can secure their future too," said Mumtaz Khan, secretary, MP Athletics Association.
"If MP government wants to motivate players from other states, instead of ‘poaching’ champions and international players, government should adopt the junior champions, who are facing financial problems and ask them to play only for MP in every tournament," said sports officer at Motilal Nehru Vigyan Mahavidlaya (MVM), Bhopal, CM Dhakad.
Experts are also raising question on spending of crore of rupees on MP State Sports Academies as its trainees could win only 34 medals in the national games. Except shooting, taekwondo and water sports, remaining eight academies have failed to perform well.
District Olympic Association, secretary, Deepak Gaur said, "To increase medals, government shouldn’t do injustice with talents of MP. Government should rather monitor the performance of MP State Sports Academies."
However, sports, director Upendra Jain doesn’t feel anything wrong in ‘poaching’ players of other states. Jain said, "I accept there is a need to change the employment policies to retain the players in the state but nothing is wrong in bringing players from other states. Indian Olympic Association (IOA) allows players to represent any state. It is not injustice with any players of MP."
Who got what
Total medal tally 91
Players from other states win 24 medals
Players from MP State Sports Academies win 34 medals
Players from SAI, centre and non-government aided academies win 33 medals