‘I’ve no expectations from govt’, says weight-lifter Vikas Thakur

LUDHIANA: “Due to corruption, funds released by the government do not reach to the players,” said international weightlifter , while speaking to TOI on Sunday. After clinching a bronze medal under the 94kg event of weight-lifting at the Commonwealth Games () in Gold Coast, Australia, reached home on Sunday morning.
He was given a grand welcome, arranged by his family and friends who escorted him home in Railway Colony in an open jeep amid beats of the dhol. While family and friends welcomed the bronze medallist in a grand way, Thakur stated that he did not expect anything from the state government. He said players in , including himself, have become used to the ignorance of the state government and local administration towards their achievements.

Phagwara-based silver medallist — who works as a train ticket examiner (TTE) at Ludhiana railway station, and has won a silver medal in the 105kg weight category in — said that in Punjab, an aspirant sportsperson can reach the international level with his or her own hard work and support of the family alone, as they could not rely on the facilities or support of the state government.

Vikas said: “The government allots funds for players, however it does not reach them. It should identify the source of corruption. The government does not ask, and players do not raise their voice against it. Even if they raise their voice, nobody listens to them. I belong to a middle-class family, and my family supported me in all ways to make me reach this level. However, not all are fortunate enough to have the motivational and financial support of their families, which is why talent remains buried in Punjab,” he added.

On being asked about the welcome or reward, Thakur said: “My nomination for the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award was filed in 2015, however I have not received it until now. Though cash prizes or rewards are not more important than the pride of the nation, however they do help in motivating sportspersons and encouraging them to work harder. Now, I have no expectations from the state government for any welcome, prize, or honour. I start my practice from tomorrow, and will focus on the upcoming Asian Games and World Championships.”

Pradeep added: “If I have reached here, it is because of my hard work and family’s support. Government facilities are not enough to produce international players. An international player’s diet costs Rs 3,000 per day. The government does not provide it, and not all players can afford it. If given all facilities and support, many more international medallists can be produced.”

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