Local Goa News

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

No prize money for Lusofonia Games medal winners

Panaji: Those who won medals for Goa-India at the Lusofonia Games 2014 must have been left wondering whether it was worth the effort.
Similar to the Commonwealth Games, which involves countries which were once colonially ruled by the British Empire, the Lusofonia Games involves athletes from Lusophone or Portuguese-speaking nations, formerly ruled by the colonial power. Goa hosted the third edition in 2014 and won 92 medals but most of the sportspersons have received nothing in return.

The medals that they were awarded were defective; several of them returned the medals to the local organizing committee but even more than two years later, the medals have not been replaced.
The sportspersons were also due for prize money according to the Sports Authority of Goa's pattern of assistance that rewards every gold medal winner at the international level Rs 1 lakh. Silver and bronze medal winners have to settle for Rs 75,000 and Rs 50,000 but the Lusofonia Games medalists have drawn a blank.
"The SAG has not even prepared a list of (Lusofonia Games) medal winners. The thinking within the sports ministry is that the Lusofonia Games cannot be equated with an official international competition. The standard, we all saw, left a lot to be desired," said a senior official.
According to sources, the SAG prepared the prize money files for 2013-14 and 2014-15 but no names of Lusofonia Games medalists figure on the list. A total of Rs 18 lakh was sanctioned and distributed among 200 sportspersons.
The SAG has rewarded Lusofonia Games medalists at Macau (2006) and Lisbon (2009) but those who won medals at the first two editions were a handful. Apart from three taekwondo players and the volleyball team - bronze by default - nobody else managed a podium finish.
In Goa, though, the hosts surprised everyone with 92 medals which included 37 gold. No other country, including heavyweights like Portugal and Brazil, had managed to grab so many medals at the previous two editions and even Goa-India had won just 10 medals in the first two editions.
One reason for the huge medal haul was, of course, a depleted field as most participating countries did not send their top athletes, while Goa were also boosted by the presence of several outstation players in their squads for the first time.
"I am not sure about the prize money. I will have to check before telling you anything. I don't know what was decided previously," said Director of Sports VM Prabhudesai, who is currently holding additional charge as executive director, SAG.
Apart from the hosts, the other countries who participated in the 2014 Games include Angola, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Macau (China), Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Portugal and Sao Tome and Principe.

TOI Goa News

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