Haryana government has decided to cancel the awards ceremony to be held in Panchkula on Thursday to felicitate the state’s Commonwealth Games medal winners. This happened a day after some of the state’s CWG winners such as Vinesh Phogat threatened a boycott over a proposed cut in prize money. As many as 22 players, who won medals in Gold Coast earlier this month, were to be honoured. The event will now be held after a review of the sports policy, Haryana Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Anil Vij said.
“Some players had opposed the state’s sports policy, and keeping in view the protest of the players, the sports policy would be reviewed. The decision to give admissible award money after deducting the amount paid to them by the department where they are working, was taken in the interest of the players so that all players get equal respect,” Vij said.
Earlier in the day, 23-year-old wrestler Vinesh Phogat tweeted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue: “Desh ke pradhan mantri se is mamle main hastakshep karne ka anurodh hain. Sara desh haryana ko udaharan ke roop main dekhta hai. Varsho ki mehnat ke baad prapt kia gaya yeh gauravpurn sathan galat khel niti ke karan garat main chala jayega,” (I request the country’s Prime Minister’s intervention in this matter. Entire country sees Haryana as an example. We got this prestigious honour after years of hard work and it will go down the drain due to the wrong sports policy).
देश के प्रधानमंत्री @PMOIndia @narendramodi जी से इसमें हस्तक्षेप करने का अनुरोध है। सारा देश हरियाणा को उदाहरण के रूप में देखता है । वर्षों की मेहनत के बाद प्राप्त किया ये गौरवपूर्ण स्थान ग़लत खेल नीति के कारण गर्त में चला जाएगा । pic.twitter.com/iUei4mQwGp
— Vinesh Phogat (@Phogat_Vinesh) 25 April 2018
Vinesh, who won gold in women’s 50 kg freestyle event in Gold Coast, is among the 13 players who represent central government organisations and opposed the Haryana government’s decision taken last week. “If the Haryana government wants to review this policy and give us the full money, it is a laudable effort,” Vinesh, who joined Indian Railways in 2016, said.
In the 2010 CWG Games in New Delhi, as many as 37 athletes from the state had won medals for India and the then Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had awarded Rs 15 lakh, 10 lakh and five lakh to the gold, silver and bronze medal winners respectively. After the 2014 CWG Games in Glasgow, Haryana government under the then Chief Minister Bhupinder Hooda revised the policy and awarded Rs 1 crore to four gold medallists including Vinesh Phogat apart from Rs 1 crore to Sushil Kumar, who is based in Delhi.
In January 2015, the new Haryana government under CM ML Khattar raised the prize money for CWG medal winners to Rs 1.5 crore to gold, Rs 75 lakh to silver medal and Rs 50 lakh to bronze medal winners apart from introducing the new clause of eligibility for players who represent Haryana at the national level or Haryana domicile and did not represent State/UT other than Haryana at national level.
“Jo khiladi hain, woh desh ke liye khelte hain aur medal sabka hain (Those who play, they play for the country and the medal belongs to all). Whatever we have achieved is due to Haryana. I won my first medal as bronze medal in 2005 junior nationals in Latur, Maharashtra representing Haryana and won medals for the state till 2014 before I joined Indian Railways. We are just asking for a fair treatment from the state government.” shared 23-year-old wrestler Bajrang Punia, who won the gold medal in the men’s freestyle category in 65 kg.