Among the several thousand who had gathered at the Ramlila Ground, the Arjuna awardees were among the more prominent protesters. The awardees came forth to extend support to Anna Hazare’s movement in order to raise their voice against sports corruption.
“We just aim to wean out sports corruption. Even if we get 50% of the sanctioned money by the government, we can improve the infrastructure immensely and make sure that our sportspersons perform better in the Olympic games,” said Rajkumar Sangwan, who won the Arjuna Award for Boxing in 1996.
The group led by Sunita Godara — Asian Games gold medalist for marathon in 1992 — comprised 13 Arjuna awardees and were also accompanied by their national coaches. In total, there were 25 people from among the awardees, representing the sports fraternity.
“For the past 20 years I have been fighting against sports corruption. This was a platform to show solidarity to Anna Hazare’s movement so that the government also takes notice of the fact that we are fighting against corruption in sports,” said Sunita Godara, one of the founding members of India Against Corruption, who also led the Arjuna awardees for the protest.
The group was singularly motivated in its task at battling corruption, while not worrying about the repercussions it could have on their careers.
The awardees stayed till dusk and extended their support. Some of the other prominent awardees who were protesting included athletes Bhim Singh and Pramod Kumar, table tennis champion Indu Puri, marathon runner Dharam Singh and wrestler Ashok Kumar.