Over 100 days after 22 Haryana athletes won medals at the Commonwealth Games held in Australia, the Haryana government has decided to give out prize money to the medal winners at “district-level state Independence Day functions” to be held in district headquarters on August 15.
The 22 medal winners include gold winning wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, shooter Anish Bhanwala and javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, among others. It will be the first time that the international medal winners will be given cash awards at I-Day functions.
Anil Vij, Haryana’s Sports and Youth Affairs Minister, said the government was thinking to hold such award functions on August 15 and January 26 every year. “The medal winners and participating players will be honoured in various state functions in district headquarters on August 15. The medal winners need to submit the forms as per the procedure through their respective federations with the District Sports Officers. Pending cases will be awarded in next function,” Vij told The Indian Express.
In this regard, Haryana’s Sports Department sent a communication to all the District Commissioners on Wednesday. It will also hold a video conference with the DC’s and District Sports Officers on August 3.
The Haryana government had decided to cancel the state-level cash award function to be held on April 26 in Panchkula after more than 10 players decided to boycott the function over reports of deduction in prize money for players representing national organisations and services. The government decided against holding the state-level function for the medal winners in June.
“For a player, getting the award from Governor or Chief Minister is a different feeling. We represented our country and did the country proud. We can only expect such things don’t happen in future. Nobody in our family has yet been told by the government about the cash award function. Some players will not be able to attend the district-level functions too as they will be going to the Asian Games, which start on August 17. We hope that Asian Games medal winners are honoured without any delay,” said wrestler Babita Phogat, who won silver in women’s wrestling in Australia.