London Olympics hero, India's only silver medalist so far, shooter Vijay Kumar is a Junior Commissioned Officer in the Army who wants a promotion. He wants to be an Army officer. The Indian Army, sources say, are elevating him to Subedar Major from Subedar and will give him a big cash reward.
Sports Minister Ajay Maken has taken up the shooter's cause and has written to his senior in the cabinet, Defence Minister AK Antony, seeking special consideration for a man who has done India proud. He suggests in his letter that the Army take a leaf out of the central government's book and give Kumar a triple promotion. Mr Maken said, "I request you to consider appropriate changes in the policy of Armed Forces regarding promotion of outstanding Army sportsmen," adding that the Armed Forces have been at the forefront of promoting sports excellence. A copy of the letter is with NDTV.
Soon after he won his medal with a shooting effort that displayed nerves of steel for most part, Vijay Kumar made it clear that he was unhappy that he had got not a single promotion in the last six years, despite some major sporting achievements at the national and international level.Â The 26-year-old serves with the 16 Dogra Regiment andÂ won silver in the 25m rapid fire pistol event in London.
Kumar said he was ready to leave the Indian Army and would consider good offers from corporates if any. His father, Subedar (retired) Banku Ram Sharma, went public too saying he dreamed of his son being an Army officer.
Army sources say it simply has no policy of rewarding a medal effort with a promotion. They also point out that jawans usually become Subedars after 24 to 26 years in service, Vijay Kumar has reached that in just seven to eight years, at age 26.
The Chairman chiefs of staff committee and navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma was too cited established policy as a major hurdle. "It is a service policy and nothing can be done beyond that. If the government changes the policyÂ only then can something be done.
The six-time national champion had won two silver at ISSF's World Cup. And though he missed out on a medal in rapid fire event at the Guangzhou Asiad, he won two bronzes in air pistol and center fire pistol. He also won a gold medal at the Doha Asian Games.