Veteran athlete disappointed in not getting recognition

Coimbatore: Former international athlete R Natarajan on Thursday lamented that he had not been given `proper` recognition despite his achievements for nine years in a row from 1987 in sprint events while his juniors with lesser laurels had received Arjuna award.

"My juniors with lesser achievements have received Arjuna awards. I am disappointed, despite my calibre and being national champion in 100 and 200 metres for nine years (no proper recognition has been given)," he told reporters here.

The former SAF Games gold medallist, however, said he did not want awards anymore.

"General public have recognised me and my service to the sports," Natarajan said on the sidelines of an International Conference on Sports and Nutrition, organised at Avinashilingam University for Women, here.

Natarajan, who ran along with multiple Olympic gold medal winner Carl Lewis, appreciated the move by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to allocate Rs two crore to create sportspersons to win Olympic medals.

The former ace sprinter, who is now Director of Chennai-based Indian Sports Promotion Academy, said his academy would submit a list of talented sportspersons, below 18 years, to the Tamil Nadu Sports Development Authority, for final selection of candidates to be trained.

He said governments should provide support in education and buying training equipment besides jobs for budding talents which otherwise could not be nurtured.


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