Seasoned boxer Manoj Kumar has alleged that the Sports Authority of India ignored his pleas for financial assistance to treat an injury picked up during the Asian Games, a charge that SAI rejected and accused him of hiding his fitness issues.
In a letter to Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, the three-time Commonwealth Games medallist’s coach Rajesh Rajound, who is also his elder brother, has stated that the SAI has not responded to his request for assistance in dealing with a groin injury despite reminders.
“The concerned officials are deliberately playing politics in the matter and I request you, as a concerned Sports Minister, that an immediate inquiry be launched…I request you, that steps be taken to ensure that he receives immediate and proper medical attention,” Rajound stated in the letter.
Manoj has been out of action since the Asian Games due to the injury and his name did not figure in the list of national campers earlier this year.
“…all the medical reports were sent to the officials of SAI and the TOP (Target Olympic Podium) Scheme, on September 10, 2018, via e-mail. The estimated cost of treatment mentioned by the hospital is Rs 5,30,400. However, even after sending all the medical reports, I have yet to get any concrete reply from the concerned officials,” he added.
The SAI hit back with an official, speaking to PTI on condition of anonymity, saying that the former Asian medallist and Olympian has been assisted financially but he hasn’t been completely forthright about his injuries.
“Manoj is a senior boxer and was fully supported when he was under the TOPS. He was treated in Mumbai’s Kokilaben Hospital at the full cost of the government. But once he was dropped from the TOPS because of dip in his performance we couldn’t support him fully,” the official stated.
Manoj said the only assistance that has come his way is from the Boxing Federation of India (BFI). However, the SAI official said that the boxer has been given aid even after being dropped from TOPS.
“But still we kept on supporting him under the NSF scheme which only allows for treatment of injuries and not rehabilitation of an athlete,” the SAI official said.
“He repeatedly hid his injuries and wanted to be a part of the national camp. Still we gave him the option of joining the camp at his own cost or his employer’s (Railways) but he denied,” he added.