By Sharanya Gopinathan
After every Olympics, everyone in India sadly asks each other, in exactly these many words, why India has a population of over a billion people and always wins so few medals when the US and China win so many. The reasons seem fairly obvious to me. We spend next to nothing on sports, of that, we spend more on male athletes than female (even though the only two Indians to win medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics were women), and in so many ways, we act like sports outside of cricket aren’t important, so much so that we literally needed cricket players to endorse the national sport, hockey.
We also don’t give athletes the recognition and rewards they deserve, or even the ones the government promised them. Sakshi Malik, who made history by winning a bronze medal for India at the 2016 Rio Olympics in the freestyle wrestling category, recently came out saying that the Haryana government has not yet given her the incentives it had promised.
— Sakshi Malik (@SakshiMalik) March 4, 2017
Her mother filled in that in addition to the Rs 10 crore she was supposed to receive, Malik was also promised a spot as sports director at Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU), a wrestling arena to practice in and a residential plot, none of which she has received yet. Malik clarified that while she received some of the monetary rewards, she has not yet received the other rewards she was promised.
Of course, Haryana Sports Minister Anil Vij refuted her claims and also infuriatingly refused to believe that Sakshi Malik could have a mind of her own, and like the gents who think Gurmehar Kaur was brainwashed, said that someone must have “prevailed upon” Sakshi to post these tweets. If I roll my eyes any harder I may lose them somewhere in my head.