Malhotra demands hike in rewards for CWG medals
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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 said.

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.

PTI


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


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