Railways offer 1,200 jobs every year to talented players
Railway Sports Promotion Board also provides infrastructure Screening panel to assess performance of players for giving jobs
VIJAYAWADA: Government institutions, in general, play a prominent role in the promotion of sports and games by offering jobs to talented national and international players every year. And leading the other departments is the Indian Railways, the largest public sector unit, which is ready to offer some 1,200 jobs every year to players who participate in various international, national, State and university meets.
Talking to The Hindu during his recent visit to the city, Sanjay Kumar, a member of the Railway Sports Promotion Board, said: "The board was floated in the late 50s, and since then it has been offering jobs to many sportspersons. We recognise around 30 sports and games and the players represent the Indian Railways in all-India meets. Very recently, we formed our women handball team, which won the all-India title."
Mr. Kumar, who is in-charge of athletics, archery, billiards, snooker and bridge, was in the city to assess the emerging archery talent at the Senior National Archery Championship that concluded on Monday.
The Indian Railways has already roped in Asian Games team bronze medallist Mangal Singh Champia, who originally hails from Jharkhand but made Vijayawada his second home in recent months. The archer presently works in Bilaspur in the Central Railway.
"Of the 1,200 jobs that we have earmarked for sportspersons, only 600 are getting filled in eight zones. We have a screening committee to assess the performance of players for giving them jobs. In the South Central Railway, we have appointed international athletes like J.J. Shoba and S. Geetha," he pointed out.
City lad Ch. Lenin, who emerged national champion in the Olympic round of compound segment in the archery meet here, is also slated to get a job in the railways.
In cricket, Indian internationals like Sanjay Bangar, Murali Karthik and Harvinder Singh were some of the cricketers who represent the Indian Railways in Ranji Trophy matches.
"Both Bangar and Murali are working as Assistant Sports Officers in the Western and the Northern Railways, respectively," he explained.
Mr. Kumar said that a few zones like the Southern Railway, the Eastern Railway and the Central Railway were always in the forefront in producing many national and international sportspersons.
Besides recruitment, the board also takes care of sprucing up infrastructure in various zones.
"In 2006-2007, we granted Rs. 8 lakhs to the Vijayawada division for purchase of high jump accessories, hurdles and for sprucing up athletic track, volleyball court and cricket pitch at Railway Mini Stadium," he revealed.
While many State sports associations often blame Central institutions for taking away their cream of talent, players were generally happy, as they were able to lead a secure life with a Government job.
"For any sportsperson, a secure job is important not only to lead a decent life but also to practice hard to achieve more glory for the country," said Syed Ali, a senior cricketer, who works for the State Bank of India.