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Promised coach’s job by Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, Paramjeet working as groundsman

Kumar plans to complete graduation to meet qualification criteria

Promised coach’s job by Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, Paramjeet working as groundsman

Paramjeet Kumar being handed an appointment letter by CM Bhagwant Mann last year. Tribune photo



Tribune News Service

Indervir Grewal

Chandigarh, July 10

Paramjeet Kumar’s life had changed completely when he received an appointment letter from Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann early last year. Or so he thought!

After stories went viral that former international hockey player Kumar, who had played for the junior India team, was working as a labourer at the Faridkot mandi, he was invited by the CM to his house and promised a job as a coach with the state’s sports department. A month later, the CM handed Kumar the appointment letter and asked him to join as coach in Bathinda.

For Kumar, it was the stuff of dreams. But reality hit soon when the department officials objected, saying that Kumar did not fulfil the educational requirements.

Paramjeet Kumar in Mohali on Wednesday for the trials to recruit contractual coaches. Tribune photo

“They said that since I was not a graduate, my appointment could be challenged in court,” said Kumar.

As he did not qualify for the coach’s position, Kumar was hired as a contractual groundsman in Faridkot. “I get a salary of Rs 8,000. It is not much, but they also hired my wife so we get around Rs 20,000 every month,” he said.

But Kumar is not willing to give up on his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — the 31-year-old has taken up the endeavour to complete his graduation. “Working hard” towards his goal, Kumar hopes the government comes good on its word when he completes his graduation. “I hope they fulfil their promise or the government doesn’t change by then,” Kumar said.

Till then, Kumar is also trying out for better opportunities. He was in Mohali on Wednesday for the trials to recruit contractual coaches for the state government’s planned nursery centres.

Lesson for young athletes

Kumar’s plight is a lesson for young athletes, said a senior hockey coach with the sports department. “Most athletes don’t pay attention to their studies during their playing days. They think that their sports achievements will be enough,” the coach said. “But they don’t factor in the possibility of injuries. They don’t realise that graduation is a basic necessity. I don’t blame them, most athletes do not get proper guidance,” he added.

Kumar, who trained at the NIS Patiala for five years, has won multiple national medals. In 2007, he was selected to play at the Junior Asia Cup alongside current India team star Manpreet Singh but the tournament was cancelled. After playing on contract for many departmental teams, Kumar suffered an injury in 2012, and could never return to his highest level.

The coach said that rather than waiting on the government’s promise Kumar should try for jobs under the sports quota. “He has the accomplishments. He should get his certificates graded. He will get a government job through the sports quota. There are many openings in various departments,” the coach said.

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The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

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