After blank envelops, finally fat cheques for the pugilists
New Delhi, May 17: After being handed blank envelops, pugilists who won medal in the Melbourne Commonwealth Games finally had something to cheer about as the Indian Ameteur Boxing Federation (IABF) gave away cash awards to five boxers at a felicitation programme here last night.
Akhil Kumar, who won the Gold in the 54 kg in Melbourne, got richer by Rs one lakh, while Silver medallists Vijender (69kg) and Harpreet Singh (91kg) pocketed Rs 51,000 each and Bronze medallists Jitender Kumar (51kg) and Varghese Johnson (91kg) received Rs 31,000 each.
In March, the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) had arranged a felicitation programme for the paddlers in which the boxers were also invited. While the table tennis players received cash award, the pugilists were handed over empty envelops, leading to a huge hue and cry.
Incidentally, Ajay Singh Chautala is the TTFI President, while IABF is headed by his brother Abhay.
At the felicitation programme here last night, the IABF President announced that the federation was about to sign two Memorandum of Understandings which would fill its coffers.
He also announced that Goa would host the Junior Asian Championship next year while the Women's World Championship would also take place in the country in November this year.
Meanwhile, Vice President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) V K Malhotra criticised the government's decision to decrease the prize money for athletes who win medals in international events.
''Earlier, it was Rs 20 lakh for Gold medallists, 15 lakh for Silver and 10 lakhs for Bronze. Going by the price index, it should have been increased but on the contrary, it has been slashed.'' ''The government is going to spend 20,000 crore for the 2010 Commonwealth Games but if there is no incentive for the athletes, we are not going to fare well. I have talked to the Prime Minister regarding this and will again take up the issue,'' he said.
IOA Life President Ashwini Kumar was also present on the occasion.