Abraham hits out at awards' system

Former international athlete and coach Sunil Abraham has hit out at the process in which sports awards at the State and national level are chosen, focusing on the corrupt ways that had scuttled his applications for last few years.

Abraham, who was one of India’s top sprinters in the seventies and eighties, said he had been left frustrated and dejected at the manner in which his applications were handled, while less deserving candidates were bestowed with the Dronacharya award.

“People ask me why you are complaining. I tell them, it’s not about fame or money. Its  about being humiliated and rej­e­cted, and I fight against th­at,” said Sunil at a press meet.
Abraham described how his application was mishandled at various levels from 2011, while a clutch of his trainees who have left a mark in track and field, including Poonam Bhojanna and Vanaja Somaiah, paid tributes to his coaching methods.

“In 2011, my name was forwarded to the committee for final approval but political compulsions came into play due to pressure from a chief minister and my name was removed,” he said. The next year held a similar tale while in 2013, his application wasn’t even sent from the State. Sunil alleged that a section officer in the Department of Youth Services had played foul. The same officer, he said, repeated the trick when he applied for the Lifetime award in 2014, removing his name from the list and placing it fourth in the General category.

 “He was obviously trying to help one of my competitors and finally achieved his ends,” said Abraham. Even when a correction was made and forwarded to Delhi, Abraham said, an official in the Sports Department made sure that it was not presented in the correct category. I left the scene when things became too “professional” and we were only amateurs,’’ he said.

Abraham said he was hurt by the fact that even his home association, the Karnataka Athletic Association ignored him when they recently organised the awards function. “Despite running for the state and producing athletes who brought laurels, I wasn’t invited for the function,” he rued.

Abraham assured to pursue the awards issue in legal ways. “I am crushed by the attitude in selecting the awardees. Many undeserving candidates have been bestowed the honour. I will fight it out,” he said.

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