Monday, April 16, 2012

Dispur snubs Olympian pugilist Shiva Thapa


Abdul Gani
Guwahati: Fresh from earning an Olympic berth, Assam’s young hero with a golden punch Shiva Thapa returned home to a hero’s welcome on Sunday, but an insensitive Dispur did not even have the courtesy of sending a representative to receive the pugilist.
But that’s not all. 

Ever since, Thapa started flooring his opponents and making headlines, the state government has announced a series of cash awards for the boxer but has forgot to release a single penny till now. Till date, the government owes around Rs 20 lakh to the youngster, who has become the toast of the state.

Not that Thapa has any complaints. Like a true sportsman, Shiva said after returning that he was not concerned about “such issues” and was fully focused on his job at hand: that is winning a medal for India in the London Olympics.

“My job is to concentrate on my game. It (money) is not my concern,” he told newsmen at the Nehru Stadium prior to a felicitation programme organized by the Assam Amateur Boxing Association. Fans and well-wishers jostled for space to have a glimpse of the youngster as he was accorded a warm welcome by family-members, representatives of the All Assam Gorkha Students’ Union (Aagsu) and a large gathering of his fans.

Shiva with Wasim Akram
The Aagsu expressed shock at the step-motherly treatment of the government. “We were really shocked to find nobody from the sports department or the state government. We do not understand why such step-motherly behaviour is meted out to Thapa,” Nanda Kirati Dewan, an Aagsu leader told Seven Sisters Post.

“Such behaviour of the government has made us think that it is communal,” he added. The students’ body also demanded that the government should release the funds to the young boxer and to all the sportspersons who give their best under very demanding circumstances to bring laurels for their state and country. “The government has been just announcing financial aids but in the reality Shiva is not getting the funds. It’s of no use if he gets it after the Olympics. It’s same with the other sports persons too. The government should take serious steps in this regard,” he said.

The government had declared several cash awards amounting to around Rs 20 lakh including Rs 2 lakh when Thapa had won a silver medal at the youth Olympics in 2010.

“It’s very unfortunate that nobody was seen there at the airport to receive Shiva. It’s a major achievement. Just four sportspersons from the state have done it so far. It seems to be the negligence of the government towards sports and sportspersons,” said Assam 
Archery Association president Jayanta Boro.
11 year old Shiva with Mary Kom

However, East Guwahati MLA Robin Bordoloi was present during the felicitation programe. But all he did was say that Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi has announced Rs10 lakh for the young boxer.

The other Olympian of the state archer Jayanata Talukdar had received Rs5 lakh fron the state government but his father felt that the sportspersons should get their due from the government. 

“It’s good that the government has declared Rs10 lakh for Shiva but the important thing is that he should get it in due time. But there should not be any discrimination in this regard. Everyone should be treated equally,” Jayanta’s father Ranjan Talukdar told Seven Sisters Post. (Seven Sisters Post)

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