Haryana government, opposition cash in on bronze from Beijing

August 27th, 2008 - 3:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhiwani (Haryana), Aug 27 (IANS) From being knee-deep in rainwater to neck-deep in reward money and other material recognition, this town and its sportsmen are basking in the glory reflecting off the bronze from Beijing. Haryana’s Congress-led Bhupinder Singh Hooda government and the Indian Boxing Federation (IBF) headed by opposition Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader Abhey Singh Chautala are vying with each other to heap awards on sportsmen, particularly boxing Olympic bronze medal winner Vijender Kumar and his fellow boxers Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar.

Vijender alone will get a cash reward of Rs.5 million from the Hooda government after his bronze medal winning feat this month in Beijing. Besides, he will be appointed deputy superintendent of police (DSP), a class I job, in the Haryana police.

Chautala, who is also the president of the faction that claims that it is the official Haryana Olympics Association (HOA) and is recognised as such by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), has separately announced a reward of Rs.2.5 mn for Vijender.

Vijender’s compatriots Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar too will benefit from the Hooda government largesse in the form of a Rs.2.5 mn cash reward each and appointments as DSP.

This is besides the other cash rewards being announced by the central government, sports organisations, private groups and individuals.

Even coach Jagdish Singh, who says he coached all three boxers at the Bhiwani Boxing Club here, is being given a reward of Rs.2.5 million by the Hooda government.

Chautala is getting the boxers back here later Wednesday to a rousing welcome and will felicitate them with the rewards announced.

The Hooda government too will organise a state-level function here Aug 30 to give the rewards and the appointment letters to the boxers.

Sportspersons from the state will stand to benefit from the race between Hooda and Chautala to get the upper hand in announcing rewards.

Chautala had earlier announced that any player winning a gold, silver or bronze medal at the Olympics would get a reward of Rs.10 million, Rs.5 million and Rs.2.5 million respectively from HOA.

The Hooda government responded immediately by enhancing the rewards for the same categories to Rs.20 million for a gold medal, Rs.10 million for a silver and Rs.5 million for a bronze.

Hooda, whose government did not seem to have any inkling about medal talent from the state, especially the boxers from Bhiwani and its surrounding villages despite state Sports Minister Kiran Chaudhary hailing from here, now does not want to miss any opportunity in honouring the sportspersons.

The Hooda government has already announced that a specialised boxing academy would be set up here to nurture boxing talent from rural areas of this district.

The Hooda government had announced a reward of Rs.2.5 million to gold medal winner, shooter Abhinav Bindra, and a similar prize to badminton player Saina Nehwal who reached the quarterfinals of the event in Beijing.

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