Judokas pay up for international event, lose deposit

It left one junior girl and a boy to fend for themselves with only their seniors to take care of them. 
Judokas fight. Image used for representational purpose.
Judokas fight. Image used for representational purpose.

CHENNAI: The Judo Federation of India (JFI) non-refundable security deposit policy has burnt a hole in the judokas’ pockets. The JFI, which is being run by an administrator, framed guidelines last year making it mandatory for judokas to submit Rs 50,000 each as a security deposit to allow them to compete in international competitions.

The criterion apparently backfired when 20 out of 27 judokas, supposed to compete at Commonwealth Judo Championships — 2023 at Gqeberha, Port Elizabeth (South Africa), could not participate due to a delay in obtaining visas. As the participation was cleared at no cost to the government, they not only ended up paying Rs 50,000 each to the JFI but also spent more than a lakh per head on flight tickets, registration fees and accommodation charges. The championships were scheduled from August 2 to 6.

What’s more baffling is the fact that the tournament, which was meant for cadet, junior, senior and veteran competitors, saw the Indian contingent participating without coaches as none of them wanted to spend from their own pockets. It left one junior girl and a boy to fend for themselves with only their seniors to take care of them. Interestingly, the JFI has made exceptions for a few. “We got visas a day after our flight was scheduled to take off so we were left with no option than to skip the tournament.

The organisers notified about the tournament in March but the JFI waited till July for completing formalities,” a judoka, who missed the championships, told this daily. “I have deposited Rs 50,000 with the JFI, spent around Rs 70,000 on the flight tickets and paid Rs 19000 for registration and bus transport. I have also paid for accommodation. I will get the nominal refund for flight tickets only,” added the judoka.

A strong contender for gold, the judoka informed that the organisers pay prize money between Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh to medal winners which help them recover the cost. Rajan CS, assistant secretary of JFI, who mailed the circular to recognised state associations in July last year, said the guidelines were framed by the advisory board and JFI needs deposits to cover penalties in case of withdrawals.

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