SK Exclusive: Frustrated with lack of government support, India's javelin star Davinder Singh threatens to take Italian citizenship

Davinder Singh Kang at the IAAF Wolrd Championships
Modified 21 Sep 2017

The Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) Committee recently announced that 107 athletes have been added to the scheme's list, who will receive support for the upcoming Commonwealth Games and Asian Games in 2018 and a few for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The biggest surprise in this whole matter was star javelin thrower Davinder Singh Kang, who was not included in it. Upset with this decision, Davinder is all set to quit India and join Italy.

"I don't have any other option but to quit my country. If India does not help me, then I have to leave. At the moment, I am the best in India and still, I am not getting any help. I was the finalist at the World Championship and such negligence towards me is unacceptable," a dejected Davinder told Sportskeeda.

He added, "There are many athletes on the list who doesn't deserve this at all. I don't want to name them. I don't know why it is happening to me. I tweeted to Rajyavardhan Rathore but he didn't reply."

When asked how would he feel if he has to quit India, Davinder sounded low as he said, "Italy is giving me Rs 10 lakhs (to train) but I don't want that. I can manage with Rs 2 lakhs. My father will support me too. He is standing behind me but he's just a farmer. My point is, when everyone is getting it ahead of Commonwealth Games, then why not me? I will feel really bad if I have to move out from India."

Also read: Davinder Singh Kang: 10 things you need to know about the first Indian to qualify for Javelin Finals in IAAF World Championships

He further added that he won't wait for too long now. "I had given a date earlier but they didn't take any step. This month, we have a tournament in Chennai and I will participate. My shoulder is injured but I am still fighting and I will prove it in Chennai again. If I do not get the support after Chennai, then I will surely move to Italy in one week. I am heartbroken. The government is also not taking any initiatives," said the javelin star.

Kang after winning bronze at the Asian Championships

In August, TOPS had selected only two track and field athletes in their initial 45-member shortlist. The committee said that they would add more sportspersons in coming days and in the new list, 17 athletes were picked for TOPS support, with only middle distance runner Sanjeevani Jadhav and Lilli Das (800m and 1500m) nominated to be supported till 2020 Games.

Chitra’s inclusion raised many eyebrows since she had moved the High Court after being dropped from the World Championship squad. Although she became the Asian Champion, Athletics Federation of India had then justified the decision saying her timing was way below the standards required.

After becoming the first Indian javelin thrower to qualify for the World Championship final, Davinder, who was bitter about the lack of support, has found several doors open for him, including an offer of Italian citizenship. The athlete said he is all set to relocate to Italy if the Indian administrators fail to dole out help in terms of financial assistance and a better job.

Yet to recover from the shoulder and back injuries, Davinder is under rehabilitation. But that hasn’t deterred the army man from voicing his opinion loud and clear. The 28-year-old Punjabi athlete has been saddled with debts too, mostly incurred for his training purposes. He owes his supplement provider more than six lakh rupees, his compatriots including fellow thrower Neeraj Chopra several lakhs and was close to being declared bankrupt after emptying his funds for training.

The TOPS committee is yet to disclose anything on Davinder. They have decided to support 10 weightlifters till the Commonwealth Games. Also, nine Wushu players will be supported till the Asian Games along with others from archery, cycling and tennis.

Davinder’s issue should be taken care of and that too as soon as possible. If India loses him then it will be a huge blow before the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. It will affect India’s Olympic campaign for 2020 too. Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore should intervene and solve this quickly.

Also read: Sports Ministry adds 107 athletes to TOP Scheme for Asian Games, CWG and 2020 Olympics

Published 20 Sep 2017
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