Bank of Baroda ditching Konery Humpy in the last moment and stripping her off their sponsorship is a shocking latest development. Found out regarding it via an entry in Prem’s blog.
Sponsors in Indian sport only run towards the top cricket stars in the country, a few international stars who have already established themselves. Promising players have to slug it out and worry about money as much as they have to do about enhancing performances.
Tennis players always find it tough and often live by the week, trying to get sponsors to travel, play in challengers all round the world, hire international coaches/trainers and improve ranking points.
Chess players are facing a similar problem. Training and getting ready for international challenges is expensive. Only after honing skills and talent for years does can a sports person aspire to be a champion.
If a company sponsors a player in the formative years, it can reap huge rewards when the player succeeds in the future. Imagine a sponsor who would have helped Sania Mirza’s career during her initial journey in tennis.
Humpy is an extra ordinary talent, having won at various levels of competition internationally. She is the world no. 4 women’s chess player. Surely Bank Of Baroda should have thought better than part ways with her at such a crucial stage in her career.
Humpy is not an also ran and the 20 lakhs she wants, I am sure will be availed some how in the next few days. But it only shows how pathetic the scenario is for sportspersons in the beginning and initial stages of their journey in India. And do not single out cricket. Even cricketers, domestic and upcoming struggle with finances, international training opportunities. Only after players reach the top do the spnsors really come in.