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Chief minister Siddaramaiah presented the annual Ekalavya awards at the Senate Bhavan at the University of Mysore here on Tuesday. He also presented awards for lifetime achievement and the Karnataka Kreeda Rathna awards. Among the 15 Ekalavya awardees, four were from Mysuru.
The awards were organized by the department of youth empowerment and sports. Speaking at the ceremony, Siddaramaiah said: “The government is doing its best to encourage outstanding sportspersons by way of enhancing cash awards to medal winners, and, from this ye ar as part of the annual sports awards we have started to provide financial assistance to the tune of Rs 148 lakh to 41 outstanding sportspersons in various sports representing India in the Asian, Commonwealth and Rio Olympic games. The financial assistance will enable them to get better training and get bet ter equipped for these competitions.”
Sports promotes patriotism
“I f we promote sports, patriotism will also grow and that is very important. In the international events, if we win a medal for our country, the happiness we get can’t be measured. One can’t expect everyone to win gold, silver or bronze medal, because taking part and being a part of the Asian, Commonwealth or the Rio Olympic team is in itself a great achievement. Whatever K Abhayachandra Jain, the minister of state for youth empowerment and sports has requested and asked for I have granted, in days to come if he comes out with more such programmes I am ready to help,” said Siddaramaiah.
Siddaramaiah also mourned the lack of interest among people in traditional Indian games. “Instead of involving themselves in traditional games many people in villages have started playing cards (gambling). Hence the department should also give emphasis to preserve the traditional games, which are so much part of our culture,” he said. He also provided assurances that he would do everything he could to promote and improve sports in Mysuru and empower the Sports Authority. The chief minister also wanted to ensure that schools allocated land specifically for playgrounds for their students.
Minister Abhayachandra Jain, who also spoke on the occasion, said that the government intended to promote Kabaddi across the state. “The government will be providing Kabaddi mats to all the 30 districts. To promote adventure sports in the state we will be spending Rs 6 crore,” he said. Apart from this the government also has also granted Rs 4 crore to the NSS.
Reward coaches too
“Coaches play an important role in grooming future sports heroes, but unfortunately, they are not paid good salaries or made permanent. Almost all coaches who are working in the Sport Authority of Karnataka are not permanent. It is high time the government made their jobs permanent. Not only the coaches but also the groundsmen. There are four groundsmen working in Chamundivihar Stadium who are working since the past 28 years, but their jobs are not yet confirmed and they are paid meagre salaries. Many of them are on the verge of retirement. The government should make efforts to absorb coaches as well as groundsmen,” said MLA Vasu.

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