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Posted at: Oct 13, 2018, 2:02 AM; last updated: Oct 13, 2018, 2:02 AM (IST)

Punjab’s sports stars honoured

Rs 15.55 crore awarded to 23 CWG and Asiad medal winners, govt working on jobs policy
Punjab’s sports stars honoured
Punjab’s Commonwealth and Asian Games medal winners pose with former hockey captain Pargat Singh (5th from left, back row), Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh, Sports Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, legendary athlete Milkha Singh, former cricketer and Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and others during the felicitation ceremony in Chandigarh on Thursday. Tribune Photo: Manoj Mahajan

Deepankar Sharda

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 11

The Punjab government today distributed Rs 15.55 crore among 23 sportspersons from the state who had won medals at this year’s Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh honoured the sportspersons, along with legendary athlete Milkha Singh, at a city hotel today. The decorated athletes were also presented a smartphone each.

Pistol shooter Heena Sidhu got the biggest cheque, worth Rs 1.75 crore, having won medals at both Commonwealth and Asian Games. She had won a gold and bronze at the Gold Coast CWG, and a bronze at the Jakarta-Palembang Asiad.

Shot putter Tajinder Pal Singh Toor, rowers Sawaran Singh and Sukhmeet Singh and triple-jumper Arpinder Singh — all gold medal winners at the Asian Games — were awarded Rs 1 crore each. Shooter Anjum Moudgil (Rs 50 lakh), doubles badminton specialist Pranaav Chopra (Rs 75 lakh), discus thrower Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (Rs 40 lakh), weightlifters Vikas Thakur (Rs. 40 lakh) and Pardeep Singh (Rs 50 lakh) were awarded for winning medals in the Commonwealth Games.

Among the awardees were kabaddi star Randeep Kaur Khehra (Rs 75 lakh), rower Bhagwan Singh (Rs 50 lakh), and hockey players Reena Khokhar and Gurjit Kaur (Rs 75 lakh each). Nine men’s hockey team members — Manpreet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Varun Kumar, Harmanpreet Singh, Simranjeet Singh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak and Dilpreet Singh — were awarded with Rs 50 lakh each for their bronze in the Asian Games.

“It’s a proud moment for us to honour our meritorious sportspersons. They were not given their dues for some reason or another,” said Sports Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi. “However, our government ensured that they got the best. With a hope that at least six players from the state would win medals in the 2020 Olympics, I wish them all the luck.”

Captain Amarinder Singh applauded the efforts of the achievers and confirmed that a new sports policy would be introduced to provide government jobs to them. “We are already working on this project,” he said. “The meritorious sportspersons will be recruited directly to state government offices. The policy is under consideration of the cabinet. I must ensure that our government is committed to revive the sports culture in the state.”

Wait continues for juniors

There was no news on any reward for the 10 junior hockey players from the state, who were part of the 2017 Junior World Cup-winning squad. The previous government had announced Rs 25 lakh as cash reward for each of the 10 players. However, they are yet to get a single paisa.

“We will form a committee to review the announcement or the possibilities to honour those players. I am not aware what exactly was announced and on which grounds the promises were made. But let’s see what we can do for our players,” said Sodhi.

Players happy

Interacting with the media, Heena Sidhu said the government should be credited for trying to boost the morale of the players. “I must appreciate the efforts of the government for honouring the sportspersons. The sports fraternity is also happy that the government has increased the prize money,” said Sidhu. 

Hockey drag-flicker Rupinder Pal, who shifted to Tamil Nadu, and Asian Games triple-jump gold medallist Arpinder, who had announced a move to Haryana in 2014, also appreciated the government’s effort. 

Confusion over phones

The 23 sportspersons were presented with smartphones by one of the sponsors of the event. However, confusion prevailed when a few sportspersons were asked to return the phones. Later, the sportspersons were given back the phones. It was later clarified that the sponsor had purchased only 19 phones, as per the list provided. The invite for the function also had only 19 names. Four names were added to the awards list only on Wednesday evening, and they would be given their phones before Monday. “The phones were given back to the players. The remaining players will be given phones soon,” said a government spokesperson.

Punjab’s medallists

Commonwealth Games

Heena Sidhu (Rs 75 lakh for  gold in 25m pistol; Rs 50 lakh for silver in 10m air pistol)

Pranaav Chopra (Rs 75 lakh for gold in badminton mixed team)

Anjum Moudgil (Rs 50 lakh for silver in 50m rifle 3 positions)

Pardeep Singh (Rs 50 lakh silver in weightlifting)

Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (Rs 40 lakh for bronze in discus throw)

Vikas Thakur (Rs 40 lakh for bronze in weightlifting)

Asian Games

Heena Sidhu (Rs 50 lakh for bronze in 10m air pistol )

Tajinder Pal Singh Toor (Rs 1 crore for gold in shot put)

Sawaran Singh (Rs 1 crore for gold in rowing) 

Sukhmeet Singh (Rs 1 crore for gold in rowing) 

Arpinder Singh (Rs 1 crore for gold in triple jump)

Randeep Kaur Khehra (Rs 75 lakh for silver in kabaddi)

Reena Khokhar (Rs 75 lakh for silver in hockey)

Gurjit Kaur (Rs 75 lakh for silver in hockey)

Rupinder Pal Singh (Rs 50 lakh for bronze in hockey)

Akashdeep Singh (Rs 50 lakh for bronze in hockey)

Manpreet Singh (Rs 50 lakh for bronze in hockey)

Mandeep Singh (Rs 50 lakh for bronze in hockey)

Harmanpreet Singh (Rs 50 lakh for bronze in hockey)

Simranjeet Singh (Rs 50 lakh for bronze in hockey)

Krishan Pathak (Rs 50 lakh for bronze in hockey)

Dilpreet Singh (Rs 50 lakh for bronze in hockey)

Varun Kumar (Rs 50 lakh for bronze in hockey)

Bhagwan Singh (Rs 50 lakh for bronze in rowing

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