A plea to include weightlifting under the games covered by the Chief Minister’s Trophy is getting louder here.
A cross-section of budding and senior weightlifters has lamented that while the trophy has covered around 11 games, the age- old sport of weightlifting has not been considered for inclusion.
Tamilselvan, a local champion-cum-Olympian and an Arjuna awardee, presently advisor to the Tamil Nadu Weightlifting Association, said that while this sport was being promoted by the government since 1952, many youngsters have taken keen interest in it and that has resulted in benefiting them personally as well as for the country as a whole.
He said the State has so far produced eight Arjuna awardees, 10 Olympic medalists and 20 international awardees, most of them from Vellore. Tamilselvan said around 1,500 youngsters were receiving training across the State every year and the number was increasing. As most of these youth hail from poor economic and educational background, the State has to promote this sport as well as the individuals in a big way. “More competitions will help youngsters fine-tune their talent, paving way for employment opportunities as well,” Tamilselvan said. “I started my career as a weightlifter and it helped me climb the ladder of a good career,” he added.
He said a memorandum with a plea to include weightlifting in the Chief Minister’s trophy was submitted to the CM Jayalalithaa recently. “As the Chief Minister is interested in promoting sports through various schemes, I am sure she will consider this plea,” he added.
Some of the trainees at the Special Development Weightlifting Centre (SDWLC) at Sathuvachari, said while weightlifting has been included in competitions organised by the School Game Federation of India and the Panchayat Yuva Krida Aur Khel Abhiyan (PYKKA) scheme being implemented by the government of India, it was time the sport was included in the Chief Minister’s trophy. The trainees said the food allowance of `10 and the sports kit worth `300 being provided at the SDWLC should be increased to `175 and `4000 respectively on par with the training centres run by the Sports Authority of India. “Participation in any national or international competitions takes a lot of physical effort and expenditure. Increase in food allowances and cash awards would help,” they said. They also suggested a hostel for the SDWLC so that the trainees from other places could stay and practise.