A total of 67 sports persons were honoured by the Punjab government at a state-level function held at Tagore theater,Sector 18,Chandigarh, on Monday. Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal gave away the Maharaja Ranjeet Singh awards to the players, including Rs two lakh,a scroll of honour and a statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Badal also announced that the state government will set aside 125 jobs every year exclusively for nationals and international level players.
“I sanction the creation of 125 jobs reserved exclusively for players of the state. I will ask deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal to submit the proposal in the coming days and get the cabinet approval for the said thing. I wish all the players,who are present in the function,to do well in the future also and I am sure this award will boost their morale,” said Badal while addressing the function in Chandigarh.
Among those who were given the award were 2006 CWG gold medallist shooter Avneet Kaur Sandhu Hundal,athlete Rajwinder Kaur,boxer Amandeep Singh,athlete Amritpal Singh and hockey player Gurbaz Singh.
The state government also honoured former hockey player Padma Shree Balbir Singh Kular,who was the member of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics gold medal winning Indian hockey team.
“Even though the government is giving the awards after a wait of 3-4 years,we are happy to get the award. Many of us have left sports and are doing jobs or staying at home. It would have been good if we had got the recognition during our prime. But at the end of the day,we are happy,” shared an athlete,who was given the award.
Meanwhile,Sukhbir Singh Badal announced that the state government would set up an Institute of Sports Excellence at Mohali next month and three more such centres will be opened at Amritsar,Jalandhar and Mohali apart from one more centre coming up later this year.
“We would be setting up the Institute of Sports Excellence at Mohali next month and three more such centres will be built in the state at Amritsar,Jalandhar and Mohali. We would hire foreign coaches for these centres and we want young talent to be groomed before they play at the national and international level,” said Sukhbir while addressing the function.
Prakash Singh Badal said that he also deserved a Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award in the ‘game of politics’ for serving his fifth term as the chief minister of Punjab.