Chennai, Aug 21 (IANS) At a time when awards and accolades are being showered on the two Indian medal winners at the Rio Olympics, there exists a bunch of forgotten and unrewarded chess players who won the nation a bronze at the 2014 Chess Olympiad.
“It is two years since the Indian team won the bronze medal at the 2014 World Chess Olympiad. Till now there has been no announcement of awards from the state or the central governments. The governments could have done something for the boys — at least a felicitation function could have been held,” a close family member of an Indian team player told IANS, preferring anonymity.
“Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa is said to play chess. Hope she would do the needful,” the family member added. The majority of players in the team hailed from Tamil Nadu.
A senior official of the Tamil Nadu Chess Association (TNCA) told IANS that nothing has been heard from the state government about awards to the players for their achievement at the global event.
The Indian team comprised Grandmasters (GMs) K. Sasikiran, Parimarjan Negi, S.P. Sethuraman, B. Adhiban and Lalith Babu. The team was captained by GM R.B. Ramesh.
Interestingly, the team presented the country with the bronze medal on August 15, India’s Independence Day.
The World Chess Olympiad is the fourth-largest sporting event in the world in terms of the number of participating countries. The 2014 edition, held in Norway, saw around 1,800 players and teams from 174 countries.
The Indian team was seeded 19th and came out with flying colours, ahead of several other high-ranked squads with top-notch chess Grandmasters.
India’s seasoned GM Sasikiran won the silver medal for his individual performance on the third board. Indian women too had reason to celebrate as Woman GM (WGM) Padmini Rout won the gold medal for her performance on the fifth board.
Meanwhile, like ‘karma yogis’ the Indian chess team members — some of them who were part of the 2014 team — are practising hard so as to put up a good show at the 2016 World Chess Olympiad at Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.
The 11th seeded Indian team for the open category comprises GMs P. Harikrishna, Vidit Santhosh Gujarati, B. Adhiban, S.P. Sethuraman and Karthikeyan Murali.
The 11-round tournament will start on September 2 and conclude on September 13.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)