India's only swimmer at Rio Olympics Sajan Prakash turns to fans for financial aid ahead of Commonwealth Games
With a little over three months left for the Commonwealth Games to start, India’s ace swimmer Sajan Prakash is yet to receive funding to begin his training regime ahead of the multisport event.
Sajan Prakash is one of India’s best swimmers and has represented the country in multiple events abroad. He was, in fact, the only Indian swimmer to have represented the country in the Rio Olympics last year.
However, a little over a year on from the mega event, Sajan finds himself struggling to prepare for the Commonwealth and the Asian Games, which are set to take place in April and August, respectively.
Yet to receive any funding from the government, Sajan was forced to spend around Rs 4 lakh out of his own pocket to participate in the FINA World Cup in Singapore. While he plans to train in Phuket and Dubai with coaches Miguel Lopez and Pradeep Kumar, Sajan finds himself struggling to cover the expenses.
“I have a plan for the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games, and if I want to work on it, I’ll have to spend more,” he said to Sportskeeda.
Earlier this year, the 24-year-old was said to have been promised funding from the Kerala government. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is said to have spoken to Sajan about the state of affairs and had promised him financial help with regards to his training. However, that financial aid is yet to see the light of the day.
“I spoke to Mr Pinarayi Vijayan way back, and he had said that he will help me,” said Sajan. “But there has been no further word on it. All they are saying is that it's still processing.”
While he has already spent around Rs 4 lakh out of his own pocket on training, the ace swimmer says that he would require around Rs 16 lakh to conduct high-performance training that is required ahead of mega-events like the Commonwealth and the Asian Games.
However, as he still awaits financial aid for his training regime, Sajan seems to be racing against time as well.
“If you are preparing for major games, is three months enough? Three months is the last stage of preparations. And I have not even started the first part,” he said.
Earlier, the 24-year-old had also appealed to Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore for assistance on this. Sajan, along with a few other swimmers, had been nominated for the Target Olympic Podium Scheme by the central government. However, they are yet to receive any confirmation on that as well.
The lack of funds has forced Sajan’s hand to look at other options to garner the required funds to fuel his training requirements at this last stage. He started a crowdfunding campaign, where he is looking for funding of around $5,000.
The situation has changed somewhat this morning, as Sajan has received confirmation of that he has been selected for the Target Olympic Podium Scheme. With just three months left for the Commonwealth Games to get underway, it remains to be seen how such a late confirmation helps the ace Indian swimmer.