Malhotra demands hike in rewards for CWG medals

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 - 17:32

New Delhi: Senior vice president of the
Indian Olympic Association VK Malhotra today demanded a hike
in the reward amount for this year`s Commonwealth Games
medallists and rued that the sportspersons have been forgotten
in the entire "mad scramble" around the capital`s preparation
for the October 3-14 Games.

Lashing out at the Sports Ministry for reducing the prize
money for the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games medallists,
Malhotra said even the sixth pay commission enhanced the pay
scale of the government employees but the sportspersons
continued to be neglected.

"In 2002 Manchester Games and the Busan Asian Games same
year, a gold medallist got Rs 20 lakh. But surprisingly the
same was brought down to Rs 10 lakh for the gold medallists of
2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games and Doha Asian Games.

"We saw how much the cricketers got in yesterday`s Indian
Premier League auction and compare it with what the government
offers to the athletes," Malhotra told reporters, adding he
would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and request him to
raise the money.

"They saved some Rs 3 crore by reducing the prize money.
But when you spend money like water for infrastructures and
other things, why cannot you give the sportspersons their
due?" he asked.

Malhotra, who also heads the Archery Association of
India, said sportspersons make a Games success and not stadium
or infrastructure and the athletes deserve better treatment.

"Beijing Olympics is talked about not because of Bird`s
Nest (stadium) or its swimming pool but because China topped
the medal tally there.

"Here in India, USD two billion is being spent for the
entire Games but we don`t have enough money when it comes to
the sportspersons," Malhotra alleged.

The BJP leader also alleged that even the Rs 670 crore
earmarked for the athletes` preparation for the Games had not
been spent for this purpose.

"Sports Authority of India spent most of the money on its
centres, when the entire amount should have been spent for
athletes` preparation. We want details of the expenditure," he

Overall, Malhotra alleged, the Commonwealth Games had
become a middleman`s delight and an athlete`s nightmare.

"After sleeping on its for the last six years, the
government have woken up to reality and work is suddenly on at
a break-neck speed, compromising quality.

"Ministers are visiting the under-construction venues for
photo-opportunities, claiming credit for the job. The Games
Village has been another sham where the government surrendered
before the blackmailing constructor and nobody has any qualms
about it," he rued.

He also pointed out that the Asian Games in China
immediately succeeds the Commonwealth Games but no one was
ready to talk about that.

"The Asian Games in China is in November and there you
have 42 disciplines, compared to 26 in Commonwealth Games.
Does anyone know how we are preparing for the other 16
disciplines," he asked.


First Published: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 - 17:32

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