Haryana Government has not paid "promised cash rewards" to Phogat Sisters in the last four years

(L-R) Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat, and Babita Phogat
Shuvro Ghoshal

The Phogat family in Haryana has scripted a revolution in Haryana with their wrestling exploits. The father responsible for it, Mahavir Singh Phogat, has provided the country's wrestling contingent with almost half a dozen top-class grapplers. They have gone on to win medals in Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, and other national and international championships.

Huge cash rewards, luxury cars, smartphones, land for sports academies, mats for training have been announced for the likes of Geeta, Babita, Vinesh, Sangeeta, Ritu, and Priyanka, whenever they have brought laurels to the nation. Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Anil Vij has certainly pampered Haryana's achiever sportspersons by announcing cash rewards, but sadly they haven't received a single penny.

Annoyed at the state of things and a number of irregularities, former wrestler Mahabir Phogat took matters into his own hands and wrote a letter to the District Sports Officer. Sportskeeda read the three-page long letter where the following was mentioned:

"They have not received the cash awards for many national and international medals during the years 2012 to 2015. We had earlier submitted their application forms to your office and even approached your head office in Panchkula many times. But till date, the girls have not got any cash rewards."

Page 1 of the letter that was sent to the District Sports Officer

Speaking exclusively to Sportskeeda, a disappointed Babita Phogat, said, "We were promised cash rewards every time we won international and national tournaments in the past four years. An amount of nearly Rs 40 lacs is yet to be released by the Haryana government for us."

The disappointment of not getting their share was clearly visible in Babita's words. And she has every right to get disheartened considering how gigantic the achievements of Phogat sisters are.

"I was conferred with the Arjuna Award last year. That was a big moment in my sporting career. While they have conferred Vinesh and others the award this year, till now, I haven't received my cash reward of Rs 5 lacs which are given to the Arjuna Awardees by the state government," said the wrestler, who lost in the elimination round to her opponent Maria Prevolaraki in the 53-kg category at Rio de Janeiro.

Not just that, what's more shocking here is the fact that, Babita was told that she can only claim rewards after 2012 and not before that since the previous government did not provide the budget to the present government for the purpose. "It seems as if it's my fault that the change in power within the government took place," she added.

Achievements of Babita and Geeta Phogat since 2012

50 lacs given to a religious sect for ‘Tiranga Rumaal Chu’

Anil Vij recently announced a Rs 50 lakh grant from his government discretionary fund to a religious sect known as the Dera Sacha Sauda for promoting a sport named 'Tiranga Rumaal Chu', which he found interesting. The most interesting part about the donation is that the money has been given to the sect's controversial and colourful head, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who has been embroiled in various controversies in the past few years. He is facing rape and murder conspiracy charges, coupled with charges of sexually exploiting female followers for the past few years in different courts.

Vinesh, who was stretchered off from the wrestling arena, after injuring her knee against China’s Sun Yanan in the women’s freestyle 48kg quarterfinal, is still recovering. She travelled all the way from the Mumbai hospital where she was admitted to Delhi to receive the Arjuna Award from President Pranab Mukherjee. "She will be going to Mumbai again on 15th of this month. The cost of her surgery so far has been Rs 3 lacs and the Government have not paid for it. We are hopeful of our sponsors JSW paying it."

Sportspersons play for the country, not only for the lure of money. "We put our blood and sweat in making the country proud at international platforms, but the government completely forgets when it comes to rewarding us," concluded Babita.

Edited by Staff Editor
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