State hands out plum Class I jobs to top sportspersons

Olympian Narsingh Yadav, World Cup winner Pankaj Shirsat appointed DySP.

Andhra Pradesh a decade ago, Haryana in the last five years and Punjab for the last 50 -- these states, flush with funds to spare for sports, have been the envy of many sportspersons from Maharashtra for all these decades. But earlier this month, the state government offered its first set of Class 1 appointments to deserving sportspersons, raising the incentive stakes in Maharashtra for those willing to pursue sport seriously and chasing excellence.

2010 Commonwealth Games wrestling gold medallist Narsingh Yadav and Pankaj Shirsat, a kabaddi World Cup champion and twice Asian gold medal winner, have been inducted as deputy Superintendent of Police in the first-ever such appointments of officer class made by the Maharashtra government for sportspeople.

A policy change that was first considered way back in 2009-10 when Ashok Chavan was the Chief Minister, this crucial decision took time to come into effect and both Shirsat and Yadav will head to Nasik for their first training stints in what is the starting rung of the officer category in IPS in April. "It's a very big step in terms of government support in Maharashtra. This will ensure that sportspeople can now pursue their games without worrying about the future and focus on sport. It's also a very respectable post and my family's very happy that my sport has fetched me this appointment," Yadav, an Olympian, said. "It's not just financial security in terms of a salary. Wrestlers ned to bear a lot of expenses for their daily diet, so now that will be taken care of. States like Punjab and Haryana and Delhi were very supportive in this, but now it's great that Maharashtra has also started considering athletic achievements in Class 1 jobs," says the Jogeshwari resident, who honed his wrestling at Mumbai's Kandivali SAI centre.

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