Sports Minister Ajay Maken Thursday gave away cash awards worth to Rs 2.12 crore to 158 sportspersons who have won medals in international events from 2010 till now, the biggest beneficiaries being weightlifters.
Chandrakant Mali, Sandeep Kumar, Soniya Chanu, Hidam Devi and Hijam Chanu each won Rs.3 lakh each for their gold medals at the 2011 Commonwealth Senior Weighlifting Championships in Cape Town.
Among other awardees, India’s women badminton combine of Ashwini Ponnapaa and Jwala Gutta received Rs.2.25 lakh each for their bronze medals in World Cup at London.
‘I congratulate all the athletes. We have 70 athletes who have already qualified for Olympics and hopefully there will be more. All those who win gold medals in Olympics will receive Rs.50 lakh, silver Rs.30 lakh and bronze Rs.20 lakh,’ the minister told reporters here.
Other prominent winners not present at the award ceremony were archers Deepika Kumari (Rs.5 lakh) and and Laishram Bombalya Devi (Rs.3.3 lakh).
The cash awards were given by the sport ministry under its ‘Scheme of Special Awards for winners of medals in international events and their coaches’. During the last two financial years, cash awards worth Rs.45.76 crore have been given to 1,206 sportspersons and coaches.