Though Arunachal's golden boy Yukar Sibi and talented lifters like Sorum Hitlar Tagru and Kojum Taba have won laurels for India by winning medals at international and national weightlifting events, regrettably, they have been dumped by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) after they received grievous injuries during training at the National Institute of Sports (NIS).
Sibi's neck was injured and his spinal cord ruptured while undergoing coaching at NIS, Patiala, for the 2012 World Championship, according to sources. This was the qualifying event for the global one, but Sibi could not take part in it because of his injuries.
He is likely to undergo major surgery to become physically fit again for the highly technical game, confirmed Arunachal Weightlifting Association (AWA) president Abraham K Techi.
But instead of getting him treated by sports medicine experts and surgeons, Sibi was sent by the NIS authorities without any escort to the Army Sports Institute, Pune, showing total disregard for his glorious achievements, which have made him the nation's pride.
Tagru and Taba, who were also being coached at SAI centre, Bengaluru, received injuries and have met the same fate.
Tagru and Taba, both of whom won gold medals at the 2012 Commonwealth Championship, however, had sustained injuries. Regrettably, Tagru was barred from any event for six months on an alleged fabricated charge. It was termed as 'barbaric', although it was only an altercation with another player.
Lok Sabha member Takam Sanjoy, an expert soccer player, expressed deep shock on being appraised of the entire issue on Wednesday.
"How can national sports bodies behave like this? They are expected to nurture hidden talents in the national interest, the MP said and assured that he would draw the attention of Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister (Independent charge) Jitender Singh to the matter so that that young Indian talents bloom under the government's patronage, instead of perishing.
"I would also seek the intervention of Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki, an ace footballer, who has put sports promotion as a top priority agenda of his government. He would be shocked to learn about the poor state of affairs of the national sports bodies," Sanjoy added.
"Sports today is an integral part of the all round development of the human personality and achieving excellence in sports has great bearing on national prestige and morale. In order to meet the increasing demands of the changing scenario, national as well as international, the Government of India has taken it upon itself to implement programmes to promote excellence in sports. At the forefront of the efforts stand the Sports Authority of India (SAI) - the field arm of the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. Through its sports promotional schemes, SAI supports and nurtures talent in youth, and provides them with requisite infrastructure, equipment, coaching facilities and competition exposure," the SAI claims on its website.
If the claim is true, do talented and medal-winning lifters from the remotest state of the country - Arunachal Pradesh - deserve such treatment? Why is the Indian Weightlifting Federation, envisioned to promote the game, silent?
It would be worth mentioning here that Arunachal had emerged runner-up in the youth (boys) category at the 7th National Youth (Boys and Girls) Championship 2011 with 550 points, while veteran Manipur, with 665 points, had emerged overall champion of the event. The event that had concluded at Nyikum Niya Hall in Nirjuli on Nov 25, 2011 had witnessed Arunachal's golden girls Takio Yana and Kojum Taba winning 6 gold medals. (ANI)