Sarbananda Sonowal, Sports Minister of India, reacted swiftly to squash player Ms. Dipika Pallikal’s comments on sportswomen not receiving equal prize money at the Nationals.
“The reason is the same why I haven’t played in the last three years. I feel we deserve equal pay like most of the tournaments which are becoming equal prize money on the PSA professional circuit.
I don’t see why there should be a difference between men and women. I would have loved to play in Kerala and definitely miss playing the Nationals. If women have started getting equal prize money at professional tournaments around the word, why can’t the same happen in India?”
In a circular issued to all the National Sports Federations, the minister said:
“Henceforth, there is to be equal prize money distributed to both men and women players in all national level championships. In fact, there will be no prize money at all for participating in the nationals. This should end the debate about pay parity among the genders.”
While players reacted with shock, awe and disdain in varying proportions, organizers were at a loss as to how to felicitate the winners of these tourneys.
A spokesperson for the Senior National squash championship said:
“We could present ribbons or medals to the victors. Different color ribbons or medals for each place. Other suggestions from our innovators include tees proclaiming, ‘Senior National Squash Championship, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM. I was there. Were you?'”
Organizers at other senior championships were quite enthused about the changes after their initial shock.
“This will allow us to provide athletes two-star , if not three-star, accommodation. No more dingy dormitories or dirty toilets and bathrooms. Every participant will be comfortable with the eating, drinking and living arrangements.”
Some men players were not so pleased.
“If women and men enjoy equality, then why aren’t men players allowed to wear skirts or skorts (i.e. skirts over shorts). This will allow us to move more freely on court. Why are our movements hampered so?”
A spokesman for a leading sports federation responded:
“The men have a point. Abolition of prize money will free up funds to equip our players better. We will be able to provide them designer clothing much like the Indian cricket team. In fact, we have sent out feelers to leading Scottish clothiers seeking quotes for kilts which are truly a unisex form of attire. We hope to be hearing from them soon.”
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. (Some facts and some “quotes” in this article are fabricated but you knew that already, didn’t you?)