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Chorus rises as more athletes criticise Haryana govt for reducing cash award

Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and Olympic medal-winning wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt also spoke up against the Haryana government's policy to reduce the cash award given to athletes.

By: Sports Desk | Published: June 27, 2019 1:51:15 pm
Bajrang Punia. (Source: PTI)

Wrestlers Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat continued to criticise the Haryana government on Thursday for its policy reducing cash prizes for athletes winning at multiple international events, and got backing from other athletes like Neeraj Chopra and Yogeshwar Dutt.

Punia, who has been among the athletes leading the charge against the Haryana government’s policy on cash awards, tweeted on Thursday saying that while the Indian government was coming up with schemes to encourage participation in sports, the state government has come up with schemes to bring sportsmen to their knees. In one tweet, Punia said that the government shouldn’t try to fool the athletes and in a third tweet said that the policy seemed like the government was upset about the athletes doing well.

Phogat also tweeted in support of Punia, saying that it didn’t just concern the two of them and that the nation would listen to them even if the Haryana government did not.

Earlier, javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra had also tweeted saying that the Haryana government should stick to its promises and allow athletes to focus on the Olympics and doing well for the nation.

Olympian Yogeshwar Dutt also spoke up in support of the athletes and said they should be told about why the reduction in prize money is taking place. “Increase their motivation so that they can win the nation more medals in the upcoming Olympics,” Dutt tweeted.

The Haryana government’s new award policy states: “”In case a sportsperson wins more than one medal during a financial year, he/she will receive full award money for the highest medal and at 50 per cent of the award money for the second and subsequent medals.” This has meant last year’s Asian Games medal winners from the state, who also bagged medals at the Commonwealth Games, have received reduced prize money due to multiple victories at international events in the same financial year.

The news sports policy also means that if a player wins a medal in world championship in the same year as Olympics or Asian Games/CWG, the medal in higher category will alone be given the full cash prize.

The Haryana government had also cancelled the cash awards function for 3000 state players and had informed the athletes about the money being deposited in their bank accounts by June 25.

In the Commonwealth Games held at Australia last year, Haryana had won one-third of India’s medals with a total of 22 medals out of 66 medals won. In the Asian Games held in Indonesia, Haryana players accounted for 17 medals out of 61 medals bagged by the country.

Haryana’s sports minister Anil Vij said on Wednesday that the cash awards being given to athletes was merely in keeping with the new policy and that the state had never disrespected its athletes.

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