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Athletes stuck for money get government boost

Centre sanctions Rs2 lakh each for players who could not afford to pay deposit amount.

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Joe Williams

Updated: Mar 13, 2013, 04:53 AM IST

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This is more than a good piece of news for budding athletes who were stuck for want of money.

The Central government on Tuesday sanctioned grants to athletes selected to represent the country at the International School Games Federation Championship to be held in Cyprus from March 28. The rising stars will represent India in tennis, football, basketball and swimming.

DNA had reported on March 8 (but for money, she would be in Indian team) that Sruthi Menon, a standard XI student of BMCC College, Pune, could miss the flight to Cyprus as she was unable to pay Rs2 lakh as deposit to the School Games Federation of India (SGFI).

As the fate of Sruthi and 16 others, including two from Pune, was still uncertain, it was left to the respective state governments to bear the expenses. Most of the parents of these athletes are from modest backgrounds and arranging an amount of Rs2 lakh was proving to be an uphill task for them.

Witnessing the plight of the parents, the state governments swung into action and decided to sanction the money. However, to their pleasant surprise, the Centre too agreed to bear the expenses.

“We do agree that it was a communication lapse which forced parents to arrange money.
Now, everything is settled and even the central government has sanctioned the tour money. This will ensure that none of the respective states, whose players are selected, have to bear the expenses,” said Narendra Sopal, deputy director, Maharashtra youth and sports affair.

For Sruthi, more good was to follow. The talented cager was selected to represent the country in the under-18 basketball tournament. She will be accompanied by two of her city mates, Ishwari Pingle and Shriya Joshi, in the 16-member squad which was announced on Tuesday.

@joepune

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