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India craves for more medals, Melbourne heroes crave for more aid

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Apr 5 (UNI) Encouraged by the Prime Minister's assurance for ''adequate incentives'' to the sportspersons, India's heroes at recently concluded Commonwealth Games today echoed that more financial aid will ensure more medals for the country on world stage.

''Give us more aid and financial security and we will bring more laurels to the country,'' said 'Goldfinger' Samresh Jung, best sportsperson at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

''I am happy that Prime Minster Manmohan Singh took a personal interest in the matter and assured us of support,'' Samresh said on the sidelines of luncheon organised by IOA to honour the medal winners at the Melbourne Games.

Samresh, who won seven medals -- five gold, one silver and a bronze -- at the mega event last month, told UNI how he missed record eighth medal due to pistol malfunctioning and that he had shot down his solitary bronze with a firearm borrowed from the South Africans.

Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister said he would look into the demands made by the sporting fraternity for more incentives.

Indian athletes received a paltry 20 dollars per day as allowance in Melbourne while in Manchester edtion of the games they were entitled to 35 dollars a day. In Athens 2004 Olympics the daily allowance was the maximum -- 50 dollars a day.

Moreover, the government is yet to disburse the cash reward it promised for Commonwealth medal winners. The athletes were told they would receive Rs 20 lakh, 15 lakh and 10 lakh respectively for each gold, silver and bronze.

Veteran lifter Kunjarani Devi was visibily upset on the allowance and cash reward issue.

''We are not (rich) like cricketers. Despite our outstanding performances, we don't get money we deserve,'' the 38-year-old, who won the gold at Melbourne said.

''If you can not give us more (allowance) than what you gave in Athens (Olympics), atleast you maintain that much amount.'' However, it was IOA president Suresh Kalmadi who first gave vent to the sportspersons' feeling by drawing the Prime Minister's attention towards the plight of the sportspersons during a felicitation function at 7, Racecourse Road in the morning.

''Allowance has been reduced to 20 dollars from 50 dollars and the medal winners are yet to get the cash reward. Please restore that,'' Mr Kalmadi said.


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