North East Sportsperson neglected for Arjuna Award

Consecutive Gold Medal winner Renubala Chanu, who won gold medal in weight lifting in Commonwealth Games in 2006 in Melbourne as well as in 2011 in New Delhi, has decided to return her medals to sports ministry after she was ignored for prestigious Arjuna Award.

It may be mentioned that, K Ravi Kumar, who won gold medal in weight lifting in last Cmmonwealth Games in New Delhi, is the only one to win Arjuna Award who belongs to Weight Lifting category.

“This is a big letdown for me after being at the top level for 11 years. I have been snubbed and cold-shouldered. It has hurt me and I have no motivation left whatsoever to continue in the sport. So I am returning the gold medal I won in the Commonwealth Games,” Renubala Chanu told reporters, who is employed with NF Railway and based in Guwahati.

Renubala said that if the sports minister Ajay Maken does not assure him that she would get the Arjuna Award next year, she would altogether quit weightlifting.

“How long I will wait? I may get injured and so out of competition and I may nor be considered again for the award any more. I want an assurance from the sports minister that I would get the Arjuna Award next year. If I don’t get the assurance I will quit weightlifting,” she said.

There has been periodic news about discrimination faced by sports person from North East India. Various online forums are full of news, discussion how champions from North East India who wins gold medal at international events are ignored by mainland media but highlight even smaller achievements by sports person from Delhi or Mumbai.

Many opine that, had Renubala Chanu been an athlete from Delhi, she would have been given Arjuna Award long back. People would have by now know the name of the pet dog of Champion pugilist Mary Kom, had she been from Mumbai or Hyderabad, such would have been the media coverage!

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