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Govt announces reward for upset hockey players

first_imgAfter the outrage over Hockey India’s meagre incentives to the victorious hockey players, the Sports Ministry on Wednesday hiked the reward money. Sports Minister Ajay Makan, who maintained “a small thing is unnecessarily snowballed into major controversy”, has said the government will give an award of Rs 1.5 lakh each to 17 members of hockey team that won in China.  Maken said he requested the government of India to consider granting reward money to players under a special scheme. “After discussion it was decided that Sports Ministry will give an award of Rs 1.5 lakh each to members of the team,” the minister said.  Hockey India had offered the players a paltry sum of Rs 25,000 for the recently won Asian Champions Trophy, which was refused by the team. The players were offered the money by HI during their felicitation on Tuesday. But the players refused, saying the amount was too less and would not even fetch them a decent playing kit. Maken said players did the right thing in refusing Rs 25000 given to them earlier. “I think no action should be taken against these players,” he said.  The Indian team beat archrivals Pakistan 4-2 in a tie-breaker in the finals of the inaugural championship in China. Hockey management in India too is under perennial crisis. Recently, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) withdrew the hosting rights for the 2011 men’s Champions Trophy from India. Maken also said, “I have tried and will continue trying to make sure things are fine between FIH and HI. The fighting between the two is the cause for the current state of hockey in India.” The minister said the players get the reward automatically.  “The government had been giving awards medal winners in international sports even. That’s why we don’t announce, because it is in public domain. We don’t take credit. The players automatically get money. In the past six months, we had given Rs 7.81 crore on preparation of hockey team,” he said. State govts show the way Earlier, even as the Union Sports Ministry had washed its hands off the entire episode, the Punjab and Maharashtra state governments had announced bigger cash rewards for the players. While Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal announced Rs 25 lakh for the entire team, the Maharashtra government was giving 10 lakh to Yuvraj Walmiki, a player from the state. The move came even as Maken failed to announce any rewards suggesting they had spent enough on Indian hockey.  In fact, after announcing the reward, the Punjab deputy CM said the Centre should apologise for the shabby treatment of the players after their big win. Maken absolves govt  Maken was quick to absolve the Sports Ministry of any blame in the matter. He tweeted that the government had nothing to do with the measly reward for the new Asian champions. The Sports Minister tweeted, “Rs 25000 cash award was not announced by Govt but by the Hockey India. Govt spends all the money on training, coaching & foreign exposure.” He went on to tweet that the government has spent almost Rs eight crore on the hockey team in the last six months, Rs 5.97 crore on national coaching camps, Rs 1.75cr on foreign visits and Rs 8.75 lakh on foreign experts.advertisementlast_img

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