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Despite new policy in place, Commonwealth Games medallists' get raw deal

Sunday, 10 August 2014 - 7:15am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

There were mixed emotions amongst India's medal winners at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games when the sports minister distributed cash awards' to all at a function here on Friday.

While there was satisfaction about getting awards right away which can be good motivation ahead of the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, next month, there was disappointment as the amount written on the cheques, which was not in tune with the new government's policy.

Soon after taking over, the new government at the centre had drawn up its 100-day action plan as a part of the new policy initiative. It had proposed a whopping hike in the cash awards and incentives — from Rs 20 lakh to Rs 30 lakh for gold, Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh for silver and Rs 6 lakh to Rs 10 lakh for bronze winner — for those winning medals in the Commonwealth and the Asiad.

For Olympics and Paralympics Games, it was increased to Rs 75 lakh from Rs 50 lakh for gold, Rs 50 lakh from Rs 30 lakh for silver and Rs 30 lakh from Rs 20 lakh for bronze.

As all 64 CWG winners came out of the felicitation hall in the Capital, they found out that they are not so lucky this time around and have got same rewards as that in the year 2008, when the old policy came into force.

Sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal didn't mention it in his speech. "Never before in the history of our country has such a huge budget allocation been given to sports. This shows the importance which the new government attaches to sports," he said in his felicitation speech.

However, he was evasive when asked why this injustice was meted out to the players despite NDA government's announcement. "We will definitely take care of the interest of the people," he replied.

Sports Authority of India's director general Jiji Thomson also refused to comment on the issue.

Meanwhile, as many as 20 CWG winners from Haryana struck it rich with the state government giving them cash rewards totalling Rs.13.72 crore. Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda honoured them all at a ceremony held at the Rajiv Gandhi Education City, Sonepat.

All gold medallists, including wrestler Sushil Kumar, Yogeshwar Dutt, Babita Kumari, Amit Kumar Dahiya and Vinesh Phogat, received cheques of Rs1 crore each.

A cheque of Rs 62.50 lakh was given to shooter Gagan Narang who has his family roots in Haryana. Hooda handed over individual cheques of Rs 50 lakh to all silver medallists while bronze winners took home Rs 25 lakh each.

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