The state government on Thursday made Sarita Gaekwad and Ankita Raina, the brand ambassadors of its Malnutrition-free (Poshan Abhiyan) Gujarat and Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaigns respectively.
Sarita, a sprinter from the tribal dominated district of Dangs, won the gold medal in the 4X400 relay race at the Asian games in Jakarta, Indonesia. Similarly, Raina, with a bronze in tennis singles, has become the second female tennis player in the country after Sania Mirza’s win in Doha in 2006, followed by a bronze in 2010 in Guangzhou.
Upon their arrival at Ahmedabad airport on Thursday, the state government felicitated them by making them the brand ambassadors for the campaigns. The two, along with Harmit Desai and Manav Thakkar, were felicitated at an event in Gandhinagar.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani gave Sarita a cash prize of Rs 1 crore, Rs 50 lakh to Raina and Rs 30 lakh each to Desai and Thakkar.
He said, “These two daughters will now become a source of inspiration for other girls across the length and breadth of Gujarat.”
Talking to The Indian Express Sarita said, “I am very happy with the support given by the state government. It was an honour to be felicitated by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.”
Two MUVs, hired by the government, brought 12 members from Sarita’s family to Ahmedabad airport to join the reception party. While several prizes and honours have been announced for Sarita since her win, her family of five is still waiting for a BPL card that they applied for a year ago.
Meanwhile, Sarita’s win has helped her father Laxman Gaekwad cover another milestone — visiting an airport. “This was for the first time that I have entered an airport. When I saw Sarita get out of the plane and people cheering for her, it was a proud moment.”