The medallists at the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games were rewarded with cash rewards on Monday by the sports ministry under the scheme of felicitating the best performers at the international events. However, the cash prizes for the coaches were stalled after two of the best performers filed affidavits naming new people as their coaches.
Female wrestler Sakshi Malik, who won the bronze medal in Rio, named Mandeep as her coach and Paralympic Silver medallist Deepa Malik, who became the first Indian woman to medal at the games, named her husband Vikram, as her personal coach.
There were no other issues regarding the other medallists with shuttler PV Sindhu, who won the silver medal, naming Pullela Gopichand, the national coach. Satyanarayan was named as the coach for both Mariyappan Thangavelu and Varun Bhati while, Devendra Jhajharia named Sunil Tanwar.
The scheme presents a cash prize of Rs 75 lakh to the gold medallists, Rs 50 lakh to the silver medallists and a sum of Rs 30 lakh to the bronze medallists.The coaches of the successful athletes get half as much as the athletes. The rule, however, states that a documentary proof that the athlete has trained for at least 240 days under him/her has to be provided in order to claim the reward.
It has been widely suggested that Kuldeep Malik is actually the coach of Sakshi with many sources from the Sports Authority of India (SAI) citing the suggestion. Vaibhav Sirohi and Naresh Choudhary had laid claims of having trained Deepa. The sports ministry sensed controversy and has thereby stalled the coaches’ award pending an inquiry on the two athletes’ claims.
According to reports in the Hindustan Times, Deepa said, “My coaching was done by my husband. He has taken a sabbatical from his job. He is the one who studied the loopholes in my technique – through Internet – and put his sports knowledge to use. I also have a fitness trainer but I’ll give maximum credit to my husband.”
Sakshi’s mother Sudesh had earlier confirmed that Mandeep had indeed coached her daughter for the last one year. She said, “Mandeep has been coaching her and we have recommended his name.”
Sakshi missed the ceremony as she is participating in a tournament in Gonda. Her father Sukhbir collected her cash reward. Sindhu, as well, gave the ceremony a miss due to prior commitments.