Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 29:
In a bid to prove its credentials as a promoter of sports, the Odisha government today announced that it would offer double the amount of cash award given by the central government to sports persons who win medals at international events.
While the Centre at present gives Rs 50 lakh, Rs 30 lakh and Rs 20 lakh to winners of gold, silver and bronze medals at the Olympics respectively, the Odisha government would offer Rs 1 crore, Rs 60 lakh and Rs 40 lakh to them respectively.
A press release issued by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) today said the state government had also decided to give double the amount of the cash award of Rs 10 lakh, Rs 5 lakh and Rs 3 lakh given by the Centre to the sports persons winning gold, silver and bronze medals respectively in the individual category in the World Cup, World Championship, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.
“The same would be applicable to the sports persons who are given a cash award of Rs 2 lakh, Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 1 lakh for winning gold, silver and bronze medal respectively in the individual category by the Centre in the Youth Olympics, Junior Youth World Cup and Junior World Cup events,” the release said.
The state government would also give double the amount of cash prize of Rs 1 lakh, Rs 80,000 and Rs 60,000 given by the Centre to the sports persons winning gold, silver and bronze medals respectively in the individual categories in the Sub Junior World Cup, and Sub Junior World Championship events, the chief minister said.
Besides, players winning medals in team events would be given a minimum of 50 percent of the amount of the cash incentive given to the players winning in individual categories, he added.
The announcement, although welcomed by sports persons, has brought little cheer to them.
A former hockey international said the only possibility that someone from Odisha can aspire to get the enhanced cash award is if he is part of the national hockey team. But there is little hope for other sportspersons as of now. “But this is a welcome development and I hope the government treats sports and sports persons with greater respect in future,” he said.
“You can announce an award of Rs 10 crore for an Olympic medal but that would not help produce Olympians. If you really want to promote sports, you need to first identify the best talents and offer them the best possible infrastructure, technology and training,” said a retired coach.