He brought many laurels to Madhya Pradesh and was the recipient of the Eklavya Award — one of the most prestigious sporting accolades — and yet, this Asiad bronze medalist had to migrate to Haryana to hone his talents.
Lack of sporting facilities and trainers compelled shot putter Inderjeet Singh to leave his home state to bring glory to the country and the state in the international sporting arena.
The Asiad bronze medalist had represented Madhya Pradesh for six years and brought more than eight medals including four gold medals at various national athletic events, left the state in pursuit of better training in 2006.
The apathy of the state government was conspicuous when chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan — who prides himself as a sports lover — did not even bother to congratulate the athlete on his success in the Asian Games.
Read: Incheon medallist's family pawned property to fund his training
Chouhan, however, had promptly announced a scholarship of Rs 50 lakh for Versha Verman, who won a bronze medal in the women’s double trap shooting at the Incheon Asiad in South Korea.
Verman hails from the well-off family—her parents are Indian Forest Service (IFS) officers—while Singh comes from a modest background and belongs to the border district of Singrauli.
The athlete’s family members said the state government's discrimination is evident.
"No doubt states like Haryana provide better facilities for training of athletes compared to our state," said Inderjeet's brother Jasvinder.
"In Madhya Pradesh, sports like shot put are completely neglected," he said, adding "I must say the reason behind his achievement at the international level today is just because he left the state in time for better training."
Players, who belong to small places like Singrauli have to struggle a lot to get better training and states like Haryana pick such talented players and train them properly, he said.
State sporting association also batted for the athlete, saying the government should provide financial assistance to promising athletes in the state.
"Inderjeet was facing financial crisis when he was felicitated with the Eklavya Award in the year 2006," said Mumtaz Khan, the general secretary of Madhya Pradesh Athletics Association.
"As his father passed away in the year 2007, he decided to move to Haryana as state government there provides better financial assistance as compared to MP."
"If our state government would have provided financial assistance to him at that time he might have stayed back in MP itself," he said.