Tennis: Sports ministry sanctions crores for Oly preparation

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Somdev Devvarman
New Delhi, Jan 19: Tennis ace Somdev Devvarman will be the biggest beneficiary, getting a lion’s share of the $318,000 (Rs 1.59 crore approx) sanctioned by the Sports Ministry for seven tennis players’ preparation for the London Olympics this year.

Somdev, at $6,000 per month for 24 months, has been allocated $87,000 for hiring personal coach and other training related expenses.

Somdev Devvarman will get a lion's share of the Rs 1.59 crore amount sanctioned by the Sports Ministry for seven tennis players' preparation for the London Olympics this year.

“An amount of Rs 1.59 crore has been sanctioned so far under ‘Operation Excellence for London Olympics 2012′ (OPEX 2012) scheme through National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) for the training of tennis players till December 2011,” the Sports Ministry said in a statement.

“This was stated by All India Tennis Association (AITA) Executive Director Col. RS Chauhan, in review meeting of the preparation for Olympics, 2012, called by Ajay Maken, Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports,” it added.

As all the players in the core group are professionals, they have been provided $6000 per month as financial assistance under NSDF scheme for meeting expenses for their training and competitions under NSDF.

Doubles veteran Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi have been sanctioned the amount for 14 months, while the injury-ravaged Sania Mirza has been sanctioned the money for 13 and half months.

Rohan Bopanna, Yuki Bhambri and Sanam Singh have been granted the amount for 13 months.

Besides, two more players — Isha Lakhani and Rutuja Bhonsle — have been sanctioned an amount of $3000 per month for training grants and hiring of a trainer with effect from this month.

In the meeting, the sports minister also stressed the need to improve structural facilities for domestic tournaments, which might also, help in improving the international rankings of the Indian players.

“It was also discussed in the meeting that there is a need to identify the best possible doubles and mixed-doubles combinations to whom tournament-intensive training can be given because the chances to finish on podium are more in men’s doubles and mixed doubles events.”

Four tennis players from India qualified for Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. Sania participated in women’s singles and women’s doubles; her partner in the latter was Sunitha Rao. Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes participated in men’s doubles category.

PTI

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