Govt should promote carrom: Illavazhagi

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Chennai, Mar 2 (UNI) World Carom Champion Illavazhagi today said the government and private players should promote carom in the country in line with cricket, tennis and chess.

Talking to newspersons here, Illavazhagi, who won her maiden women's title in the World Carom Championship in France last month, said ''many talented persons, who are capable of winning medals for India, are left unnoticed.'' ''In a country where cricketers are bid for crores of rupees by private firms, even a few thousand rupees were not being spent on carom players,'' she said apparently referring to the recent auction of cricket players for the Indian Premier League's (IPL) Twenty20 Championship.

''If the government promotes and encourages carom players, they would even bag gold in the Olympics and bring laurels to the country,'' Illavazhagi, daughter of a rickshaw-puller, said.

Tears rolled down her cheeks while recalling her economic hardships, which she had to overcome to climb the ladder of success.

She said financial help from a few persons, including state Sports Secretary R Christudas Gandhi, enabled her to travel and take part in tourneys.

Earlier, the Tamil Maiyam, an NGO of which Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi is a board member, presented a cheque of Rs one lakh as a token of appreciation for the 23-year-old.

Replying to a query, Kanimozhi, who was also present, said she would impress upon the Centre to promote games like carom by citing the case of Ilavazhagi.

UNI SNR AB HT1814

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