With an overall tally of 69 medals (15 gold, 24 silver, 30 bronze), India ended its most successful campaign at the Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia on Saturday. Track and field athletes contributed largely to India’s success along with other sports stars. Recognizing their efforts various state governments announced cash rewards for those who ensured a podium finish.
Silver medallist Dutee Chand was awarded a cash prize of Rs 3 crore by Odisha government after she sprinted to the silver medal in the 100m finals clocking 11.32 seconds. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced the reward. “It is a matter of pride that an athlete from Odisha has brought laurels for the country in the Asian Games after 20 years. In 1998 Asian Games, Odia Athlete Rachita Panda Mistry had won a bronze medal for India,” the Chief Minster’s Office (CMO) said in a statement. The Odisha government also gave Rs 1 crore each to the four Odia girls- Sunita Lakra, Namita Toppo, Lilima Minz and Deep Grace Ekka who were a part of the silver medal-winning hockey team.
The Tamil Nadu government announced Rs 20 lakh for sailors Vikas Thakkar, Chengappa Kelapanda for winning the bronze medal in 49er men’s sailing event. The Government of Tamil Nadu also announced cash incentives for several other medal-winning sportspersons. Athlete Arokia Rajiv, member of the silver medal-winning 4X400m mixed relay team received Rs 30 lakh. Prajnesh Gunneswaran received Rs 20 lakh for a bronze after losing 2-6, 2-6 to Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin in the semifinal.
Grapplers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat also received Rs 3 crore cash reward after their successful outings at the Asiad. Shooter Lakshya Sheoran also bagged Rs 1.5 crore.
West Bengal government rewarded Rs 10 lakh and a government job for Swapna Barman after she secured India’s first-ever Asian Games gold medal in heptathlon. “The CM announced a cash award of Rs 10 lakh and a government job for Swapna. The minister (Deb) spent about half an hour at Swapna’s house, and also assured them full support,” PTI quoted West Bengal Athletic Association secretary Kamal Maitra as saying.
Athlete Sudha Singh bagged a gazetted officer’s job from UP government along with Rs 30 lakh. The UP government also handed Rs 50 lakh reward for shooter Saurabh Chaudhary.
However, shot putter Tejinderpal Singh Toor expressed surprise at Punjab government’s silence on prize money for its Asian Games medallists. This was after the 23-year-old shattered the Asian Games record to win secure the yellow metal but received no cash incentive from the Government in Punjab. “It is really surprising. Tejinder is so far the only gold medallist from Punjab at the Asian Games but nothing has been announced for him. Haryana, Delhi and Odisha governments were quick to acknowledge the performances of their state athletes,” PTI quoted a source close to Toor as saying.