Special Class I posts to be created for state's sports champions

After receiving flak for making empty promises of jobs to sports champions, the state sports directorate will propose to the state that a special Class I post be created for medal-winning athletes

While medal-winning athletes who bring glory to the state with their success at international tournaments return home to assurances of cash rewards and government jobs, very few have actually seen those promises materialise. In an attempt to beat back criticism and ensure that the authorities are able to follow through on their pledges to sportsmen, the Directorate of Sports and Youth Welfare is proposing that a special Class I post be instated in the state government for international champions.

Shooter Ayonika Paul
Shooter Ayonika Paul and weightlifter Chandrakant Mali (Below) are amongst the recent medal-winners at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games who could be considered for the new Class I post

According to an existing Government Resolution (GR), any athlete who wins a gold medal at international events is eligible for a Class I or II government job. However, the GR has run into strong criticism in the past, because several athletes have had to run pillar to post to get their promised jobs, to no avail. Those sportsmen who were appointed were later criticised for not being able to devote any time to their jobs. “Arjuna award-recipients Virdhawal Khade and Pankaj Shirsat were appointed as Tehsildar (Thane) and Deputy Superintendent of Police respectively. However, they have not been able to give much time to their services,” said Sports and Youth Welfare Department Deputy Director, B N Mote.

Weightlifter Chandrakant Mali
Weightlifter Chandrakant Mali

“Considering this issue, we are requesting the state government to create a special post of Class I officers for such athletes,” Mote said, adding further, “Our proposal is that medal-winners who are given the special post need not take charge of their jobs until later, but they will continue to get the monthly salary allotted to that particular post. This will allow them to practise and play for the nation without the burden of office work.”

Swimmer Virdhawal Khade
Swimmer Virdhawal Khade was criticised for not being able to devote time to his job as the Thane tehsildar. File pics

According to the proposal, it is necessary for athletes to earn a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal in international tournaments such as the Commonwealth Games, Olympics, Asian Games or the World Championships. The athletes should be residents of Maharashtra, and should inform the state as soon as they have retired from their sports, so they can then be appointed to a regular government job.

“Once the athletes stop playing for the nation, they will be appointed to revenue, sales tax, treasury, or any other department on the basis of availability of posts,” said Mote. Apart from shooter Rahi Sarnobat who has already has been given the post of Deputy Collector, weightlifters Chandrakant Mali, Ganesh Mali, Onkar Otare and shooter Ayonika Paul who recently won medals in the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow can be considered for this special post.

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