Indian Government recognises Deaflympics on par with elite sports

It's been a long-standing demand of the All India Sports Council of the Deaf to treat its athletes on par with those who compete in the Olympics and Paralympics.

In the last Deaflympics held in Samsun, Turkey, Diksha Dagar had won the golf silver (File Photo).   -  FILE PHOTO/ GETTY IMAGES

The Union Sports Ministry has recognised the Deaflympics and the world championships in this category, on par with elite sports, in its scheme of cash awards, as per its latest amendment executed last week.

It has been a long-standing demand of the All India Sports Council of the Deaf to treat the achievement of its athletes on par with those sportspersons who compete in the Olympics and Paralympics.

As per the circular dated March 11, the gold, silver and bronze medals in the Deaflympics will be awarded 75 lakh rupees, 50 lakh and 25 lakh respectively. Earlier the award was about 20%.

Moreover, the World Championship medals, for events held in the four-year cycle, will fetch 40 lakh rupees, 25 lakh and 15 lakh respectively, for the deaf athletes.

Over the years, there have been remarkable achievements in the Deaflympics by Indian athletes. In the last Deaflympics held in Samsun, Turkey, Virender Singh won the gold in the men’s 74 kg wrestling event. Diksha Dagar won the golf silver, while wrestlers Ajay Kumar and Sumit Dahiya had won the bronze medals.

In mixed doubles in tennis, Prithvi Sekhar and Jafreen Shaik had won the bronze medal.

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Prithvi, who was part of the gold-winning team in the World Railways tennis championship, had won the individual gold and doubles bronze with Prashanth Dasharath Harsambhavi, in the World Deaf tennis championship in Antalya, Turkey, last October.

"I am very happy with the government’s announcement. I am applying for the cash award for my medals’’, said Prithvi, who trains in Chennai with coach Sureshkumar Sonachalam.

Prithvi also noted that the Asian championships had not yet been listed for the cash awards for the deaf athletes.

Incidentally, wrestler Virender Singh had won two gold and a bronze in the earlier editions of the Deaflympics from 2005. He had also won gold, silver and bronze medals in World Championships.

The AISCD had also sought in the past, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, for athlete PK Jaison of Tamil Nadu who had won a gold and two silver medals in the long jump and triple jump in the Deaflympics in Bulgaria in 1993 and Denmark in 1997.

Coaches of the athlete at the grass-roots, developmental and elite levels would also be given the cash awards, at the rate of 30% to 40%.

The cash award for the coaches would be 50% of the cash award for the athlete, for individual medals.

However, the government order categorically states that spouse, father, mother, brother and sister of the sportspersons would not be eligible for cash awards, as a coach.

To avoid delay, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) will accept applications directly from the medal-winning sportspersons in the prescribed format, along with attested copies of certificates wherever available apart from the bank account details of the athlete for money transfer.

For coaches, the application will be forwarded by the National Sports Federations to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.