Grandmaster Praggnanandhaa’s coach appeals for change in policy for sports awards

12-year-old Chennai boy Praggnanandhaa became world’s second youngest Grandmaster at 12 years, 10 months and 13 days. For any sportsperson to excel, the contribution of a coach is unparalleled. Hence, congratulations are in order for little Praggnanandhaa’s coach Ramesh RB, too.

After congratulating Praggnanandhaa on his victory, Ramesh BB took to Twitter to express his displeasure over the government policy in awarding sports awards, especially to coaches. He expressed his apprehensions and discomfort that for a coach to be eligible for the prestigious Dronacharya Award, the coach must apply himself.

He said the award must go to the deserving coach without him or her having to apply for it. He recounted how many awards his students have won over the years.

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He said that having coached so many students to bring laurels to India, he had applied for Dronacharya Award back in 2014, but was awarded zero points by the authorities.

To put things in perspective, World Chess Olympiad is the 2nd biggest sporting event after Olympics in terms of countries participating. He said how this was not a pleasant experience for him. He said how the cash award application by his students for him as a coach are also ignored and that no chess coach has been awarded cash award since past 15 years.

He said how he quit his job in 2008 to start giving training for the sport, and how the cash award would have given some financial relief to his family back then.

Saying how non-Olympic sports are considered illegitimate child, he said how chess coaches are ignored for Dronacharya Awards.

He thanked the public for the support he has been receiving, but disillusioned by government policies, he has decided not to apply for awards again for fear of getting ‘similar treatment’ again.

He appealed that non-Olympic sport should also be given equal opportunity to be considered for Dronacharya Award and other awards.

Dronacharya Awards are sports coaching honour [pdf] given to coaches who produce outstanding results in different Olympic sports disciplines, non-Olympic sports disciplines recognised by Government of India and other sports as recognised by Government. Since its institution in 1985, the award has been awarded to chess coaches only twice, Raghunandan Vasant Gokhle in 1986 and Koneru Ashok in 2006.

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