Four men claim to be Sakshi Malik's coach, want prize money from government
India had only two medal winners at the Rio Olympics 2016 and Sakshi Malik was one of them. Winning a medal at the games does have its own reward but four men are claiming to have coached the 23-year-old wrestler. All of them have now put a claim on the Rs. 10 lakh award that the Haryana government had promised to the coaches of all medal-winning athletes.
Anil Vij, the Haryana States sports minister, spoke to the Times of India (TOI) and said the award will be given to the coach that Sakhi Malik herself acknowledges in writing. He said, "According to our policy, we give the award to the coach who the player endorses in writing."
According to the TOI, a senior officer of the sports department has confirmed that they have received the gritty wrestler's affidavit and has named Ishwar Dahiya and Mandeep Singh in it. Kuldeep Malik and Rajbir Singh are the other two men in the fray. "However, we can't give awards to 20 coaches if they say that they trained the player," Anil Vij said.
Sakshi malik became the first Indian female wrestler to win an Olympic medal when she clinched bronze in the 58kg category. Manohar Lal Khattar's government announced a cash prize of Rs. 10 lakh for the coach, a substantial rise from the Rs. 3 lakh that was given out before.
Sakshi is all set to receive Rs. 2.5 crore following her performance while Mandeep is entitled to the Rs. 10 lakh prize. However, it is understood Kuldeep is also set to get Rs. 10 lakh from the state on Sakshi's request.
An official source in the sports department said,"Sakshi had initially said that Kuldeep had accompanied her to Brazil. Later, she said that the award should be given to another coach Ishwar."
meanwhile, Rajbir Singh, the acting Rohtak district sports officer (DSO), claimed that he had trained Sakshi from 2011 to 2015. He informed that he was appointed by the state government to train the young wrestler. Rajbir said, "It's not about the cash. It is about the honour."
Sudesh Malik, Sakshi's mother has reportedly told TOI that a retired sports officer named Ishwar trained her daughter from 2004 to 2009. According to her Mandeep has been training Sakshi ever since. "A final decision will be taken by the government," said Sakshi's mother.
In accordance with Haryana's policy, only one coach is entitled to the cash prize. However, in Sakshi's case, Khattar announced awards for two coaches.