Slumdogs, but no millionaires
Eighteen- years- old Sunita Kanna and Savita Kamble finished fourth and fifth in the Mumbai Half Marathon . But the two orphan girls from Sagroli village in Maharashtra's Nanded district will not get the prize money, said the race manager, reports Abhijeet Kulkarni.india Updated: Jan 19, 2009 01:32 IST
Eighteen- years- old Sunita Kanna and Savita Kamble finished fourth and fifth in the Mumbai Half Marathon (21.097 km). But the two orphan girls from Sagroli village in Maharashtra's Nanded district will not get the prize money, said the race manager.
The reason — they could not afford to buy the electronic-timing chip all participants had to wear. And surprisingly the chip costs just Rs 200.
Had they run with the modern electronic chips, which are worn on the shoes,
Sunita would have won $500 (approx Rs 25,000) and Kamble would have been richer by $400 (Rs 20,000).
The teenagers were part of a 10-member contingent from the Sagroli Sunrise Sports Project, which adopts orphan children from the area and trains them for long-distance running.
The trust, run by former marathoner Deepak Kanegaonkar, has been training the children for four years and had entered them in the Half Marathon (21.1km) for the first time.
Though disappointed at missing out on the prize-money, the two girls insisted that they had come to Mumbai with the sole intention of running hard and were happy with themselves.
"In hindsight we can think that we lost some money. But that doesn't matter. We enjoy running and next time we will have another shot at getting the prize money," said a very dejected Kamble.
Their coach Bhagwan Nagargoje admitted that they were aware of the rules but said the trust would have had to borrow money to buy chips and that they decided against it. "We came here to test waters and never expected anything. So we thought why add to our expenses," he said. "It is my fault."
Race Manager Homiyar Mistry studied the manual records and confirmed to Hindustan Times that the girls had finished fourth and fifth.
Mistry also said they would not get the money as they were not wearing the chip. "It was made clear in the rules and we will abide by them," said the Race Manager.
First Published: Jan 18, 2009 23:15 IST