- It was a well-wisher who started campaign for Jaisha
- She used the fund to pay for ground maintenance, buy shoes and to cover travel expenses
- S L Narayanan plans to use the donations to prepare for Aeroflot Open in Moscow
Tired of the lackadaisical attitude of the government, sportspersons in Kerala have started looking for new means to find the fund for training and other expenses - crowd funding. With the government always short of funds when it comes to sports a few athletes have turned to the public for support.
The cost of expert coaching and accessories are skyrocketing as one makes progress in their career, but in most cases, government funding is not enough to help them with expert coaching to move to next level. It is at this stage that some of them sought the help of crowdfunding websites.
It was marathoner O P Jaisha, who started the trend. She successfully generated funds to support her training prior to 2016 Rio Olympics. Chess prodigy S L Narayanan and 400m sprinter Jisna Mathew followed suit.
Soon after her Olympics selection, Jaisha realised that she cannot rely on government funds. The athlete then took to Milaap.org, a crowdfunding website and the efforts attracted about ₹4.5 lakh. "It was a well-wisher who started the campaign. He heard about my situation from newspaper reports and took to crowdfunding. I was not even aware of that. The fund was transferred to my account, and it came handy for my preparations prior to Olympics," Jaisha said.
The government met the food expenses and accommodation, but all other costs were met with the donation she received through crowdfunding. "Athletes were supposed to pay for ground maintenance and purchase shoes on their own. I used the donations from crowdfunding to pay for ground and buy running shoes. Each shoe costs nearly ₹15, 000 and must be replaced every month. Even my travel expenses were covered with this money," the Asian Games medalist said.
Narayanan collected ₹1, 01, 906 through the same method and there were only 34 donors. He too used the same website. "We were reeling under fund crunch and the donations, though in small denominations were of great help. It will help in the preparations for Aeroflot Open in Moscow," said Sunilduth, the father of the youngest Grandmaster from Kerala.
The 18-year-old is yet to receive ₹3 lakh, which he won as part of GV Raja Award four months ago. "He is the best chess player from Kerala, but we hardly get any assistance from the government," Sunilduth said.
He is aspiring to win the world title and was the bronze medalist in 2016 World Junior Chess Championship.
The third one to resort to crowdfunding is Jisna from Usha School of Athletics (USHA). The athlete managed to collect ₹12, 000 in just two weeks reports The New Indian Express.
"She must compete in international events. Only then she will be able to improve herself for 2020 Tokyo Olympics. We started the campaign on LetzChange.org seeking support for the whole school and raised ₹50, 000. We are now trying to find the fund for Jisna. We got donations from places like Europe and China," Usha school general secretary P A Ajanachandran said.
The crowdfunding websites have now shifted their attention towards sports foundations and schools.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 7:04 PM