Jyoti Gawate, Srinu Bugatha, Kalidas Hirave await Chandigarh marathon dues
Maharashtra's long distance-running trio of Jyoti Gawate, Srinu Bugatha and Kalidas Hirave emerged champions at the Dailyworld Marathon in Chandigarh on March 31 last year
The financial independence of professional sportspersons has never been more important than during this Coronavirus-caused lockdown period. And given their limited sources of income due to no sporting activity, it's unfair if these athletes are refused their due.
Maharashtra's long distance-running trio of Jyoti Gawate, Srinu Bugatha and Kalidas Hirave emerged champions at the Dailyworld Marathon in Chandigarh on March 31 last year but are yet to receive their monetary rewards.
Women's full marathon winner Gawate (who clocked 2:50:02) and men's full marathon champion Bugatha (2:25:55) were both entitled to cash awards of R2 lakh each, while half marathon winner Hirave's (1:06:02) prize money was R1,25,000. Among the three, only Bugatha has received a part payment so far.
"I have been calling the organisers several times since last year for my prize money. I have spoken to different people each time. Initially, a person called HS Gujral gave me assurances. Then, one Ravi Sharma spoke to me, followed by some PC Kushwaha and now the last person I spoke to a few days ago is one Manish Tiwary. But my money has still not come. An amount of Rs 2 lakh is huge for an athlete like me who is jobless. I have won over 15 marathons till date and each time, I have received my prize money within 45 days," Gawate, 33, who lives in Parbhani, told mid-day on Tuesday.
Army Sports Institute (Pune) athlete Bugatha, who is currently at home in Vizianagaram, Andhra Pradesh due to the lockdown, said the organisers are not even answering his calls. "Of the R2 lakh, I received only R50,000 and that too just a month back after a lot of follow ups. Now, they're not even responding to my phone calls. I requested them many times, pleading that it's my hard-earned prize money but to no avail," said Bugatha, 27, claiming that the Ethiopian and Kenyan runners received their prize cheques immediately.
The trio are now contemplating legal action. "We have only been getting false assurances from the organisers that they will deposit our money soon. We have made dozens of calls to them. Now, Srinu, Jyoti and myself are thinking of sending them a legal notice," said Hirave, 27, from his home in Wai, Satara. Dailyworld's Editor-in-chief Tiwary told mid-day that the cash awards will be handed over soon. "This event was done in association with the Punjab government. We have received a part payment from them and are awaiting the balance which has caused this delay. Still, out of 90 winners in all categories, we have paid 87 athletes. We will check our records and pay the others immediately. These athletes are our stars and it's our responsibility to take care of them," said Tiwary.
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