Kochi: Iconic long jumper Anju Bobby George is contemplating quitting her job as president of the Kerala State Sports Council over the alleged mistreatment by sports minister E. P. Jayarajan. Ms. Bobby George, who bagged the gold medal in the World Athletics Final in 2005, the only Indian track & field athlete with such an achievement, has accused Mr Jayarajan of calling her corrupt during their meeting in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday.
“The previous government nominated me and I’m ready to leave if this government does not want me here,” said Ms. Bobby George. “But it is extremely bad to push us out by accusing us of corruption,” added the recipient of the country’s highest sporting honour, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna.
The highly decorated athlete, who is also the chairperson of the Union Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs’ project TOPS (Target Olympic Podium Scheme) said that though she was ready to quit she does not want to arrive at a decision hastily.
“I don’t want to take the decision on my own, but I'm thinking about it. We don’t gain anything special from our work here, except a feeling of gratitude that is of giving something back to the sport that made us what we are today.”
The alleged incident took place on Tuesday when she visited the minister in his cabin along with sports council vice-president T. K. Ibrahimkutty. It is understood that the minister accused her and threatened to take away the benefits of her post. “He mentioned about the air ticket benefits that I get for travelling between Bangalore and Thiruvananthapuram.
During the previous government’s term I had only asked for three tickets per month and had applied saying I’ll pay from my pocket for every extra visit. But they said it was not necessary and gave me a government order saying I can fly any number of times. The minister has said he’ll cancel those benefits,” said Ms. Bobby George.
Meanwhile, she said her meeting with the CM was a relief. “The CM said that they knew who Anju is and that they don't see me as someone who does something wrong. But we’re not ready to accept what has been said as a remark by a minister, but as an accusation from the government itself,” said the national record holder, who finished fifth at Athens Olympics in 2004.