UP sports director apologises to Sudha

Lucknow: A day after Asian Games gold medallist Sudha Singh threatened to snap ties with Uttar Pradesh over the humiliating treatment meted out to her during a sports function here, a senior official of the government on Monday offered apology to her.

Expressing regret over last week`s incident, sports director Hari Om called on Sudha Singh who is presently in her home district Rae Bareli and assured her that in future the government would ensure that all international and national athletes are given due respect.

"Though the said function in Lucknow was not organised by the department, I called on Sudha Singh today to express regret and also offered my apologies for the same," Hari Om told reporters.

On Sudha threatening to snap ties with the state, Hari Om said that she had told him yesterday`s statement, as reported in a section of media, was made in a fit of rage.

Sudha Singh, when contacted, said that sports minister Ayodhya Prasad Pal called her and said that he was not aware of her presence in the event.

"While expressing regret over the incident, the minister said that had he known of my presence he would have come to meet me," she said, adding that she was however firm on her resolve that she would not take part in any function where she is not accorded due respect.

Sudha said that she has also been approached by sports officials of the state today and whatever she had stated yesterday was in the heat of the moment.

"Whatever I have learnt in my discipline is in Uttar Pradesh and would continue to play for the state," she said, adding that her love for her home state was intact.

Invited as a chief guest in mini marathon organised by Mahavir Prasad Girls College last week, Sudha Singh was not recognised by anyone including the organisers when she reached the venue.

"When I reached the stadium no one took notice of me. Leave aside asking for water or tea, when sports minister (Ayodhya Prasad Pal) arrived everyone ran to welcome him leaving me behind," Singh had said.

The athlete had also claimed that though she was invited as chief guest, the marathon was started without her and after all this humiliation someone called her to offer money.