Margao: Three Goan athletes have returned their medals won at the Lusofonia Games-2014 here after they allegedly began losing sheen, leaving the organisers red-faced even as they stopped payment to the medals' manufacturers.
Athletes Anik Naik (silver), Desiree Pereira (Bronze) and Hinanshu Velingkar (Bronze) returned their medals yesterday to the Games Organizing Committee, claiming that they were "defective."
The silver medal was fading while the bronze medals had black spots all over them. Director of Sports and Youth Affairs, V M Prabhudesai said the Lusofonia Games Organizing Committee (LUGOC) had earlier inspected the medals after receiving unofficial complaints and were shocked to see that most of them were not in good shape.
Also, officials from the government-run mint in Kolkata, where the medals were manufactured were present at that time. Despite their best efforts to clean the medals, nothing worked, Prabhudesai said yesterday.
A total of 693 victory medals (221 gold, 221 silver and 251 bronze medals), all manufactured at India Government Mint in Kolkata, were procured at an estimated cost of Rs 61 lakh.
Each medal costs approximately Rs 7,500 which is significantly more than the Rs 5,539 gold medal cost at the Commonwealth Games, also manufactured at the Mint.
Even 1,500 commemorative medals procured at a cost of Rs 600 each which were supposed to be handed over to the Lusofonia workforce have now been kept on hold because of its poor quality.
The medals are not exactly green at the moment but LUGOC is bracing for a deluge of medal-winners knocking at their Bambolim headquarters.
"We are keeping all options open. We have not paid anything to them but it is an internationl shame to have defective medals. They are a Government of India company and care should have been taken to ensure that such problems don't occur," Prabhudesai felt.
The Games concluded on January 29.