Support for veteran athletes in Kerala, India.

As part of the our family morning routine we take a walk in the beautiful Kanakkakunnu Palace premises. The palace premises is serene, clean and the felling is just awesome. Its even more heart warming to see people doing their morning walks, playing badminton, athletes practising their laps, people doing yoga, performing group laughing therapy sessions, families getting together for a good quality time.Today I happened met two veteran athletes who practices hard daily for national and international competitions, Suresh & Vijayan. They participate in the national and international events for 400m and swimming events. They have such passion towards sports and we sense the excitement in the conversations. They are over 60 years and I was blown away with the kind of fitness they have.

Suresh has won gold medals nationally and internationally in swimming and track events, nationally and internationally. He recently took up swimming and practised for two years before winning medal in international events. He won gold in butterfly stroke event this year, a commendable feat! But the sad part is the support they get from the state and central government. There is absolutely no support what so ever in terms of money, encouragement, refunds or recognition from the governments side. Even their ticket fares were not refunded by the government. They have to spend all the money from their own pockets for the training, kits and travel for all the events. I am not really sure whether the government has funds to support these wonderful athletes. But I felt that they should definitely be supported and encouraged. I have decided to do my research and talk to people to get this information, the least I can do from my part or at least get the media cover the story.

Their views and insights on the development of sports in the city is wonderful. It would be great if people with similar views are included in the decision making process related to the field of sports. As citizens, we also have a responsibility to engage with the government — providing them with inputs and also holding them accountable for service delivery.