A protest to make his point

A protest to make his point

Instead, they have been shabbily treated, with many of the medal winners are not even provided tickets to watch the mega event.

After several rounds of requests to the authorities went abegging, former hockey player Pramod Batlaw, who was part of the silver medal-winning squad at the ’78 Asian Games, chose the pavement in front of the CWG Organising Committee office as the scene for his silent protest against the treatment meted out to deserving athletes.

The 57-year-old Batlaw, holding placards in both hands, walked in front of mediapersons assembled in anticipation of CGF president Michael Fennell’s visit to the Games Village. In no time, Batlaw was surrounded by lensmen and newsmen. “It’s not that I have no money to buy tickets,” he thundered. “The attitude of the organisers is shameful. I am speaking for all sportspersons of my country.”

Batlaw’s ire was mainly aimed at the organising committee that decided to give passes only to gold medal winners. “Mr Bhanot (OC secretary general) is saying if passes are given to silver and bronze medal winners, it will result in loss of revenue to the country,” said Batlaw.

“The question to be asked is if they are spending the money wisely? How will giving the passes for just 2022 athletes (silver and bronze medal winners) affect the revenue of a nation. Politicians, Municipal Corporation of Delhi counselors and other rich people are getting passes easily and we are asked to buy tickets,” he added.

Batlaw cited the example of the 1982 Asian Games, when passes were given to all medallists, to prove his point. “During that time, the government ran the Games,” he argued.

Batlaw played for five years for Western Railway from 1976-80, where he was the Senior Commercial Inspector, before he went into his family business. He retired from international hockey in 1980 but continued playing for Mohun Bagan for another nine years.

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