Anju Bobby George slams Kerala government for not recognising Olympian PR Sreejesh
Former World Champion Anju Bobby George slammed the Kerala State Government for not recognising Indian hockey team goalkeeper P R Sreejesh for his stellar performance at the now concluded Tokyo Olympics. The Indian hockey team scripted history by defeating Germany and bagging a medal finish after 41 years, last week. While several state governments announced cash rewards and other incentives for athletes hailing from their respective states/regions, Kerala government’s apathy for not recognising the medal winning Olympian has raised eyebrows.
Speaking to Mathrubhumti TV channel, the former Olympian said, “The allegation that Kerala government did not reward Sreejesh is true”. While other state governments announced cash rewards and other perks when athletes won medals and even before they came back to the state. However, in Sreejesh’s case, who also hails from Kerala, he has not received the recognition he deserved. “One should understand the value of an Olympic medal,” she lamented.
Earlier, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had issued a statement in praise of Sreejesh, however, the state administration has not yet announced any reward for the Olympic medallist. Criticism against the government appeared to have mounted particularly after Neeraj Chopra, who brought home India’s only gold medal from the Summer Games, was awarded Rs 6 crore as a cash reward by the Haryana government. Other Olympians too have been honoured by their states — Vivek Sagar and Nilkanta Sharma, who are also a part of the mens’ hockey team, were awarded Rs 1 crore by the Madhya Pradesh government. Weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu was also given a Rs 1 crore by the Manipur government, while also being appointed the Additional Superintendent of Police, in the sports quota.
Anju, further cited her own experience and said that when she won the World Championship medal, the state government had shown the same attitude towards her and they had then said the treasury was empty.
While, the state has not yet declared any reward for the 34-year-old Olympian. Kerala Hockey had earlier announced Rs 5 lakhs cash reward for Sreejesh and Rs 5 lakhs for the Indian Hockey Team. Sports committees including the BCCI have also announced rewards for the hockey team. While, expat entrepreneur Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil had announced a reward of Rs 1 crore for Sreejesh.