Women boxers from Haryana, who won medals in recently concluded Women’s Youth World Boxing Championship in Guwahati, found themselves recipients of a rare reward- a cow. State Animal Husbandry Minister Om Prakash Dhankar presided over a function in Rohtak on Wednesday and announced that the female boxers will soon receive the four-legged price at their doorsteps.
The decision to gift cow has created quite a stir but Olympic-winning boxer Vijender Singh said there is nothing wrong in giving such a prize money. Speaking to Times of India, Singh said that practice of rewarding athletes with a cow should be continued in the future. “I can’t understand why there’s so much fuss about this decision. Look at the benefits of cow’s milk. A trophy or a car received during the felicitation function won’t produce milk or ghee,” the 2008 Bronze-medal winning boxer told TOI.
Singh further added that cow milk is beneficial for sportpersons. “These things are good for the health of a sportsperson. Haryana has a rich culture of farming and producing dairy products. I completely back this move,” the boxer was further quoted as saying by the newspaper.
Dhankar, who is also the president of the Boxing Haryana Association, had also spoken at length about the benefits of cow’s milk in an interview to The Indian Express on Wednesday.
“(Unlike buffalo’s milk) cow’s milk contains less fat and is beneficial for boxers… a cow is very active, while a buffalo sleeps most of the time. Haryana main kehte hain, haanga chahiye toh bhains ka doodh, aur khoobsarti aur dimag chahiye, toh gai ka doodh (They say in Haryana that if you want power, drink buffalo milk; and if you want beauty and brains, drink cow’s milk). These boxers have done the country proud at the world level and we want them to excel more,” he said.
But not all the winners were particularly thrilled to hear about the reward. Mother of Shashi Chopra, who won the gold medal in 57 kg category in Guwahati, earlier told Indian Express that cow would pose a problem for her family. “We used to have a cow about two years ago. We used to keep it at our neighbour’s plot of land, but had to sell it when he told us to vacate the site. We do not have space, or, for that matter, people at home to take care of it,” Pushpa Devi, Shashi’s mother said.