AMONG THE finest on this planet, wrestler Bajrang Punia and archer Atanu Das are two of the brightest medal prospects for India on the Tokyo Olympics beginning later this month. And but, if Bajrang clinches a gold, he’ll pocket Rs 6 crore as cash award from his state whereas Das can have to be glad with simply Rs 25 lakh.
Reason: The financial worth of an Olympics medal in India relies on the place the medallist hails from.
Haryana, Bajrang’s house state, has introduced cash awards for medallists starting from Rs 6 crore (gold) to Rs 2.5 crore (bronze) whereas Das’s West Bengal will award quantities from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. UP, Odisha and the Chandigarh administration, too, are providing Rs 6 crore for gold adopted by Karnataka and Gujarat with Rs 5 crore.
The state awards are separate from the Rs 75 lakh (gold), Rs 50 lakh (silver) and Rs 30 lakh (bronze) that the Central Government gives to Olympics medallists.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Manoj Tiwary, former cricketer and West Bengal’s new Minister of State for Affairs of Sports and Youth, mentioned: “As per the 2018 order of the West Bengal government, for the Olympic Games, prize money for a gold medallist is Rs 25 lakh. For a silver medallist, prize money announced was Rs 15 lakh, while a bronze medallist gets Rs 10 lakh. From West Bengal, three sportspersons are going to the Olympics this year, and we will do what needs to be done for their encouragement.”
Former Olympian and Haryana’s Sports Minister Sandeep Singh says the state desires to present its assist to athletes. (*6*) Singh mentioned.
Two-time Asian Games gold medallist and former athlete Jyotirmoyee Sikdar is evident that the quantity provided by West Bengal is “too less”.
“While nothing can match a player’s dedication and effort to win an Olympic medal, the amount of Rs 25 lakh to be given to an Olympic gold medallist from the state is too less. Training needs and competition levels have grown in the last 2-3 decades and matching other states in terms of prize money will motivate players and give them the assurance of financial security,” Sikdar mentioned.
Former (*25*) Games gold medallist, boxer Akhil Kumar, sees Haryana as a pioneer in monetary encouragement to sportspersons. “Haryana has set an example for other states,” he mentioned. Haryana has 31 athletes, essentially the most from any state, within the 120-member Indian contingent for Tokyo.
UP Sports Minister Upendra Tiwari believes such incentives inspire youth. “Our vision is to reward deserving players and see Uttar Pradesh, which is the biggest state in terms of population, lead in the number of Olympics medals. That’s why we have made the provision for cash awards,” he mentioned.
UP is sending eight athletes to Tokyo, on par with Maharashtra. “We have a policy whereby an athlete who wins gold will be eligible for a cash prize of Rs 1 crore, silver for Rs 75 lakh and bronze for Rs 50 lakh,” Maharashtra Sports Commissioner Om Prakash Bakoria mentioned.
—(With Shamik Chakrabarty)