Ace shooters Rahi Sarnobat and Tejaswini Sawant were among the five sportspersons from Maharashtra, who were given aid of Rs 50 lakh each to help them prepare for the Tokyo Olympics, but champion shuttler Chirag Shetty was surprisingly ignored by the authorities.
Chirag Shetty is an ace Indian badminton men’s doubles player. The Mumbai-based Chirag is the best doubles player of the country. Chirag and his partner Satwiksairaj Rankireddy of Andhra Pradesh are ranked world No. 10 in the BWF rankings. They will certainly represent India in the Tokyo Olympics as they are the highest ranked men’s doubles pair of the country.
Chirag and Satwiksairaj will not only compete in the Tokyo Olympics but they are also one of the medal contenders for India as far as men’s doubles is concerned. The Tokyo Olympics got rescheduled to 2021 from 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The tall and lanky Chirag competed at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, winning a gold in the mixed team event, and a silver in the men’s doubles event with Satwiksairaj.
Twenty-three-year-old Chirag, and Satwiksairaj, 20, recently won the Arjuna Award for their outstanding achievements at the world-level in the last couple of years. The fast rising Indian doubles combination had reached the career-best world ranking of world No. 7 last year.
Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray distributed the funds to Sarnobat and Sawant in a function at his official residence ‘Varsha’ in south Mumbai a few days ago.
A statement from the chief minister’s office (CMO) said steeplechaser Avinash Sable and archer Pravin Jadhav were also given Rs 50 lakh aid as part of the state’s ‘Mission Olympics’ scheme to prepare for the mega event.
International para-shooter Swaroop Unalkar, who is preparing for the Paralympics, was also given similar aid at the function, which was attended by deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and minister Aditi Tatkare.
“The chosen players have won medals at national and international competitions. They should only increase their graph and produce such performance which will make the state proud,” the CM said.
While it is really appreciable that CM provided financial assistance to five state players, the omission of Chirag Shetty has really baffled the badminton fraternity of the state.
Interestingly, Uddhav Thackeray had honoured Chirag Shetty soon after the ace shuttler received Arjuna Award virtually on August 29 on the occasion of the National Sports Day.
Chirag, who had trained at the Goregaon Sports Club in Mumbai under experienced coach Uday Pawar since childhood, will leave for Bangkok on Sunday to participate in the Thailand Open. He is now training at Hyderabad with the Indian squad in the national camp.