Maken accepts HI mistake; announces bigger reward

Zeenews Sports Bureau

New Delhi: Sports Minister Ajay Maken on Wednesday clarified that the players would be given Rs 1.5 lakh each as was specified in the scheme of the ministry. He also said that the reward for the hockey team wasn’t announced as he didn’t deem it fit to say that in public because it would have looked like doling out charity to them whereas they deserved it.

"The players did the right thing by rejecting HI's cash award. It was a mistake. The federation should have consulted me before announcing the award," said Maken.

"The scheme was already there in public domain and I thought it was not required to make it public again. This is not a pittance, it is what they deserve. I spoke to HI secretary general Narendra Batra and told him if he wanted to reward the players we could have done it together so that the players got Rs 1.75 lakh each."

“We have four categories for awarding players performing in the major tournaments that include 20 lakh for each player and Rs 10 lakh for each team member for winning gold in CWG and Asian Games. For Olympics, the reward is Rs 50 lakh for individual and Rs 25 lakh in team events for winning a gold. For World Championships, Rs 10 lakh in individual category and Rs 5 lakh for each team member are awarded. For Asian Championships, Rs 3 lakh in individual and Rs 1.5 lakh in team category are already given.” He said while addressing the media.

“In this financial year, Rs 75 lakhs prize money has been distributed to players without making any public announcements.”

Commenting on the efforts the government has been making for the betterment of sports in the country, Maken said in the past three years, Rs 48.14 crores have been given as rewards in different sports to players without any public announcements.

“We made special provisions to get the most expensive hockey coach at 10,000 dollars per month which is and we have already spent Rs 7.81 crore for the training purposes of the hockey team.” He added.

Clarifying the government’s position on the controversy of awarding peanuts to the victorious hockey team, Maken said he spoke to Hockey chief Narendra Batra on the issue and he requested the ministry to raise the reward.

Speaking on the shambolic state of hockey in the country, Maken said “Hockey is suffering due to the ongoing politics between HI and IHF. It tried merging the two but faced stiff resistance.”

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