Asian Games gold medallist Sudha Singh refuses, then accepts award
Asian Games gold medallist and nine-time national champion in 3,000m steeplechase Sudha Singh refused to accept a cheque of Rs 30 lakh from Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath until she was promised a job with the state’s sports directorate at an event in Lucknow on Tuesday.
Sudha’s was angry over the government’s refusal to offer her deputy director’s post in the Uttar Pradesh sports directorate despite her achievements that include a gold medal at the 2010 Asian Games (Guangzhou) and the 2018 Asian Games silver in Jakarta.
Sudha left the event, which governor Ram Naik was presiding over, after refusing the cheque and the scroll of honour from the chief minister. The event was halted for five minutes. “I need a job, not money. Let this money (be) distributed among young sportspersons of the state, but give me a job,” she said.
“There are people in the sports directorate who do not want me to get a job there,” said Sudha Singh, who is as assistant commercial manager with Central Railway in Mumbai.
Sudha later accepted the cheque and scroll following the chief minister’s job assurance.
“If I do not get the job as deputy director, sports, I will return my prize money and leave the state forever.”
Sudha, who aims to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, added: “I challenge everyone in the sports directorate to compare their achievements with mine. I am an Arjuna awardee and have six international medals, including gold at the 2017 Asian Championships at Bhubaneswar. If they prove me wrong, I would not request them for a job.”
“If I am not deserving, then the state government, including chief minister sir, should make an official announcement over this. Ever since I won a gold medal at the 2010 Asian Games, I have been running from pillar to post to get a job in my home state, but I have been denied the same on the pretext of rules and regulations.”
Soon after Sudha, 32, won the Jakarta Asian Games silver, the state government had announced a job for her. The chief minister and Naik had even invited her to congratulate her. “I gave my application to CM sir and he promised me the deputy director’s post. But now, people within the directorate are making all efforts to deny me the job.
“I am a gazetted officer in the Railways. Had I joined the UP sports directorate in 2014 even as regional sports officer, I would have become deputy director by now,” she said.
She questioned the appointment policy of sports directorate, where former Ranji Trophy cricketer Anand Shukla and later Vijay Singh Chauhan were appointed directors.
One of the deputy directors in the current setup was given the job by the then Mulayam Singh Yadav government when the officer submitted his application during a ‘Janta Darbar.’
It is learnt that in 2015, the then Akhilesh Yadav government had introduced a policy for the appointment of medal-winning sportspersons to the posts of gazetted officers in different departments of the state, but nothing happened after the government order.As many as four medallists from the 2010 Asian Games and Commonwealth Games are struggling to find jobs in the state government.
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