New Delhi, July 11: Taking note of the “indigent circumstances” in which former athlete Santhi Soundarajan has been living, the Sports Ministry on Thursday sanctioned an assistance of Rs. 60,500 to fund her National Institute of Sports (NIS) Diploma Course at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Centre in Bangalore.
“Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs & Sports Shri Jitendra Singh has approved financial assistance of Rs. 60,500 from the National Welfare Fund for Sportspersons to Ms. Santhi Soundarajan”,” the Sports Ministry said in a statement.
For Ms. Soundarajan, it has been a tumultuous journey so far.
The middle-distance runner became the cynosure of all eyes when she won a silver medal in the 2006 Doha Asian Games. But after failing a gender test a few months later, the athlete was immediately stripped of her achievement.
The 26-year-old's plight came to fore after media reports appeared of her working at a brick kiln in Tamil Nadu for a paltry Rs. 200 per day. She later applied for a coaching course at the SAI Centre in Bangalore.
The Union government took cognisance of the matter and promised Soundarajan a seat at the NIS, Patiala, even though she was banned by the Athletics Federation of India from competing in national and international competitions.
“Taking into consideration the poor financial condition of Ms. Soundarajan, the assistance has been sanctioned to meet her expenditure for undergoing the Course,” the Sports Ministry stated.