Sports Ministry approves Rs 2.5 Lakh for COVID-stricken former powerlifter Joseph James

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New Delhi, May 18 (PTI) The Sports Ministry has approved an amount of Rs 2,50,000 for Asian Games gold-medallist and international powerlifting coach Joseph James, who recently recovered from a bout of COVID-19 infection.

According to a release issued by the sports ministry on Tuesday, the 2008 Asian Powerlifting Championship gold medallist, was sanctioned the money through the Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay National Welfare Fund for Sportspersons.

'James developed serious breathing issues on April 24 after contracting COVID-19 a few days back,' the release said.

He was admitted to a hospital in Hyderabad after his oxygen levels had declined earlier this month. However, after spending around a week in the intensive care unit (ICU), the 2006 Asian Games champion is now stable and has returned home.

'His oxygen levels were low and the family had to admit him at the Vivekananda Hospital in Hyderabad on an urgent basis. He was in ICU for 7-8 days and was discharged on May 5. He is stable now and is under home quarantine.' The financial assistance comes under the jointly collaborated initiative from the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the sports ministry to support ex-international athletes and coaches amid the ongoing pandemic.

James' daughter, Alica Joe thanked the Ministry, SAI and IOA for extending the timely financial help.

'One of the members from the Telangana Olympic Association and the IOA, Mr Mahesh Sagar informed us about the initiative. He gave me the details to fill in and he followed up with the respective authorities,' Alica said.

'It's really great help from the Ministry at this time when even it is difficult to get support from our families and friends. I am obliged that the Sports Authority of India has remembered us when we were in need.' KJ Yadav, general secretary of Telangana Olympic Association, also thanked the ministry for the help.

'On behalf of the entire Telangana Olympic Association and the entire Sports Community of Telangana State, I am very much grateful to Ministry of Youth Affairs, Sports, Sports Authority of India and Indian Olympic Association for extending the financial assistance to Mr. Joseph to meet his medical expenses.

'Thank you for supporting the sportspersons in these difficult times,' he said. PTI APA ATK ATK