COIMBATORE: At a time when governments are rewarding triumphant sportspersons with huge cash prizes, the differently abled with sports talent were insulted at the district-level sport meet as they were presented Rs 70, Rs 50 and Rs 30 as cash awards for the first three places respectively by the Sport Development Authority of Tamil Nadu.
Angered by this, associations for the differently abled persons in the district, who boycotted the sport meet held on Friday. At the sport meet conducted for differently-abled person by the Sport Development Authority of TN here, various sports events were conducted under four categories.
Protesting against the low prize money, eight associations working for the welfare of differently abled persons boycotted the sports meet. They also staged a protest at the venue.
“The price money for the sports meet for differently abled persons was fixed as Rs 70 for first prize, Rs 50 for second prize and Rs 30 for third prize. Despite representation to the district administration and district sports welfare officer, the price money was not revised,” said Surya Nagappan of Caliber Trust, one of the associations involved in the protest.
He further said, “While for normal sportspersons Rs 1 lakh was given as first prize money, the prize money for our sport meet should be at least Rs 5,000. It is unacceptable that the total budget for conducting a sports meet for 1.14 lakh differently abled persons in the district is just Rs 10,000.”
A Kanniyappan, president of the Coimbatore District Differently Abled Welfare Association said, “By giving such a low prize amount authorities are dishonouring the differently abled persons who participate.”
When contacted, Stanley P Mathew, District Sports Officer, SDAT (Coimbatore) said, “Not only in Coimbatore, at the State-level in all districts the price money is the same. In fact we have provided them with food, snacks and tea with the help of the sponsors.”
He further added, we have sent a proposal to the government to increase the prize money and also award medals.