Karnataka cares about our achievements ?, asks Thej Kumar

At the beginning, I want to record my sincere congratulations to PV Sindhu for his phenomenal achievement. Like the rest of the country, I am very proud of it. I don't think there's anything wrong with giving cash prizes to deserving athletes from other states.

That said, it is heartbreaking to see the way athletes Karnataka are treated. I don't know why they don't understand that we need encouragement too.

Cash prizes, especially in individual sports, help athletes to achieve and perform better.

There are so many athletes whose achievements go unnoticed by the government. Or simply, the government does not keep its promises.

I'm a classic example. In 2017, I became the first Grandmaster from Karnataka. I received a lot of accolades and adulation from people. The government announced a cash reward. I was elated. After exhausting my funds, I had borrowed money as well to become a Grandmaster and when the reward was announced, I set my sights on becoming a Super Grandmaster. To become a SGM I had to invest a lot of money for playing tournaments abroad and coaching. The cash award would have have eased my financial burden.

But instead of money, we only have false guarantees. It is discouraging because for the past three years, my father has visited the office of the Department of Youth Empowerment and Sports in Bangalore every month, just to be told that the file is in process.

While the file is being processed, I have stopped participating in events abroad due to a shortage of funds. For almost three years, I have been competing alone in the country and I also filed plans for training.

Just not me, I am sure that most athletes would agree, such government movements make us wonder, what do our achievements mean for our state government?

(As told Manuja Veerappa)