Sportspersons work for their country first and then for themselves. They deserve respect and support for the rest of their lives even if they retire from the game. This is what sports minister Kiren Rijiju believes. He recently declared that the ministry will continue to provide financial support to the former sportspersons in times of crisis which they have been doing for former athletes like boxer Dingko Singh.
At the farewell of former athletics chief coach Bahadur Singh, Rijiju said, “I feel very sad when former athletes don’t have money for their medical treatment or their living condition is very bad. So, as far as possible we try to provide financial help to all the past and present sportspersons,” as quoted by the Hindustan Times.
He further added, “There are a lot of athletes who win medals and achieve success and their commercial value is high. And there are also a lot of athletes who dedicated their lives for country’s sport but for some reason could not achieve success. They are forgotten by the society. So, we will continue to provide financial assistance to all those sports persons who have represented the country in international events but currently facing financial problems in life.”
Athletes work really hard and dedicate a major part of their lives to make their country proud. Rijiju spoke about this and said, “The athletes should be given respect and dignity at every level of the society. If we are not doing that, we are giving a wrong message. I feel very sad when athletes are not given respect and dignity.”
Appreciating Bahadur Singh who quit on June 30 as athletics chief coach, Rijiju called him “an iconic figure” in Indian sports and said, “Two decades as a top athlete, winning gold medals in the Asians Games and other international events, and then nearly three decades as a coach is something difficult to match. You will continue to inspire the Indian sporting fraternity in future also. The athletes will try to emulate you and we need to find many more Bahadur Singh in the years to come.”