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Won a medal for India? Prove it

From the funny annals of Indian sport here's a screamer: The national tennis federation has asked India's first woman silver medallist in the sport to prove that she actually won a medal, Sukhwant Basra reports.

india Updated: Mar 28, 2009 00:18 IST
Sukhwant Basra

From the funny annals of Indian sport here's a screamer: The national tennis federation has asked India's first woman silver medallist in the sport to prove that she actually won a medal.

Manisha Malhotra, along with Mahesh Bhupathi, won India a silver in the 2002 Asian Games in Busan.

She recently applied for the sports ministry's pension for meritorious athletes which assures Rs 7,000 per month. What she certainly did not expect was a call from the All India Tennis Association (AITA) asking that she provide proof of her win.

"I am amazed at the way the AITA functions. India is hardly a sporting nation and perhaps it will never be if our federations continue to be steeped in bureaucracy," Malhotra said.

Col Ranbir Chauhan of the AITA clarified: "We are just following the ministry's instructions. They have sent her application back saying that it has to be filled in a new format and they have asked that proof of achievement be provided."

Malhotra, however, is having none of it.

"Why can't the national federation endorse the achievement on its own? It's not like the government will not accept its word," she countered. "I have told them to google me and send the link to the concerned people in the ministry."

While the scheme is for athletes over 30 years of age, Malhotra, who is 32, has only applied now as she feels "it is better to take the money and give it to a deserving young player".

Possibly peeved at being asked to prove the highlight of her career, Malhotra has now gone incommunicado amidst a 10-day Vipassana camp.