If you are wondering why the 92-medal haul by Goa at the recently-concluded 37th National Games, its best ever, was hardly cheered in the State, it is because just 30.43 per cent of these medals were won by Goans.
Of the 92 medals, just 28 were bagged by Goan athletes, the rest were by players that the State had taken on loan to boost its performance on the table. Among Goa’s medal winners, 17 were women and the remaining were team events.
Twelve players from Goa will now be in line to receive Rs 3 lakh promised by the government for gold medal wins, four will receive Rs 2 lakh for their silver and ten will wait for the Rs 1 lakh each for their bronzes.
The Goa government paid Rs 7,91,12,402 (7.91 cr) as 80 per cent advance towards procurement of equipment and Rs 3,69,76,720 (Rs 3.69 cr) (please see report dated November 10, 2023) for residential coaching camps.
Most associations have blamed the delay in release of funds, leading to inability to purchase latest equipment to prepare for the games, for the paucity of medals. However, with the government having already disbursed a total of Rs 11,60,89,122 (Rs 11.60 cr) to the associations, the 38th National Games in Uttarakhand, scheduled next year, should witness a bumper crop of medals.
“We should cross 100 medals in the next games,” was Chief Minister Pramod Sawant’s forecast during the closing ceremony. “A very laudable statement if the emphasis is on Goan sportspeople,” admitted a medal winner.
Weightlifting received the highest amount to buy equipment – Rs 1,58,07,500 (Rs 1.58 cr), gymnastics received Rs 1,09,34,140 (Rs 1.09 cr) and yachting got Rs 93,51,440 (Rs 93.51 lakh).
Weightlifting finished with one silver, having procured the services of an outstation player, gymnastics failed to win a single medal and yachting finished with two gold, one silver and one bronze.
Football, which received Rs 68,24,400 (Rs 68.24 lakh) for both regular and beach football residential camps was released an eighty per cent allowance of Rs 96,00,000) (Rs 96 lakh) towards procurement of equipment. Despite beach football not being a state sport, the lads finished with silver.
Boxing, one sport other than sepak takraw that had the biggest concentration of outstation players, received Rs 24 lakh to procure equipment and sepak takraw was assigned Rs 2,51,200 (Rs 2.51 lakh).
“Since we were running short of time and players needed equipment to practice, money was released but all sports associations will be audited,” stated a member of the financial team of Sports Authority of Goa (SAG).
Modern pentathlon, the first gold medal winning sport for Goa, was released a grant of Rs 30,98,748 (Rs 30.98 lakh) and pencak silat was disbursed Rs 7,94,400 (Rs 7.94 lakh).
Athletics won a silver through an outstation player and the association got a grants of Rs 17,37,923 (Rs 17.37 lakh) to purchase equipment, while aquatics received Rs 5,89,200 (Rs 5.89 lakh) and taekwondo Rs 23,88,721 (Rs 23.88 lakh).
Judo, a sport that won medals in the past at the national level, finished empty handed despite receiving Rs 20 lakh, along with hockey for the purchase of equipment.
Triathlon was granted Rs 31,81,554 (Rs 31.81 lakh) for purchase of equipment and taekwondo, whose president Navin Pai Raikar claimed the association could not import sensors from abroad for players to get used to, received an equipment grant of Rs 23,88,721 (Rs 23.88 lakh).
Wushu, which was another sport that surprised many with its haul of three medals, was sanctioned Rs 31,30,620 (Rs 31.30 lakh) for purchase of equipment and yoga got Rs 4 lakh. Table tennis took home Rs 10,60,267 (Rs 10.60 lakh) and fencing got Rs 57,00,200 (Rs 57 lakh). Badminton that created a flutter for the wrong reasons had to remain content with Rs 12,76,658 (Rs 12.76 lakh).
“One member of an association approached me to buy my equipment for a certain amount with a request to invoice it by Rs 3 lakh more. I refused,” disclosed an honest individual, on condition of anonymity.
With the government disbursing huge amounts to sports associations, albeit late, the 38th National Games in Uttarakhand should expose many skeletons.