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Oil minister to felicitate Indian winners of Commonwealth Games  

Murli Deora to felicitate CWG winners

Rajeev Jayaswal / The Economic Times

NEW DELHI: Oil minister Murli Deora will felicitate Indian sports-persons at a gala event next month for their remarkable performance at the Commonwealth Games. The event, where cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar is likely to be present, will not only be about mere praise. The oil ministry will give Rs 10 lakh to winners of gold, Rs 7.5 lakh to the silver medalists and Rs 5 lakh to those who got bronze in the games.

“This will not be a one-time thing. We will institutionalize it to encourage sports. Our oil PSUs are already contributing in this field,” the minister told ET. The event is not just a reaction to the successful conclusion of the Delhi Commonwealth Games. “We had announced the prize much before the event. Yes, I was inspired by the former prime minister Indira Gandhi,” he added. Deora recalled his conversation with the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, 27 years ago. “It was July 1984. If I’m not mistaken it was July 28, the day US president Ronald Reagan officially opened the Los Angeles Olympic games. Mrs Gandhi was in Mumbai and while travelling in the same car with her she told me that sports are a cohesive force, the spirit that binds the nation,” he recalled.

The Los Angeles 1984 Olympics were legendary. The Games notched a healthy profit for the first time to become the model for the future and were a great success despite a boycott by the Soviet Union. They also saw the rise of a superstar Carl Lewis who matched the Berlin 1936 achievement of Jesse Owen. Earlier, railway minister Mamta Banerjee had announced awards for those medal winners in the Indian contingent who worked for the railways. The awards would be Rs 10 lakh for gold medal winners, Rs 6 lakh for silver and Rs 4 lakh for bronze. Defence minister AK Antony has also announced cash awards of Rs 12 lakh for winners of gold medals, Rs 7 lakh for silver medals and Rs 5 lakh for bronze.

Among the state governments, West Bengal will felicitate the 10 Commonwealth Games medallists from the state and give them Rs 5 lakh for gold, Rs 3 lakh for silver and Rs 2 lakh for bronze medals. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati announced that athletes from the state who have won medals will be given Rs 15 lakh for gold medals in a singles event and Rs 10 lakh and Rs 8 lakh for silver and bronze medals at the CWG while Andhra Pradesh chief minister K Rosaiah announced a prize of Rs 10 lakh for gold medal winners, Rs 7.5 lakh and Rs 5 lakh for silver and bronze medal winners. Sukhbir Singh Badal, deputy chief minister of Punjab announced cash prizes of Rs 7 lakh for gold medal winners, Rs 5 lakh for silver and Rs 3 lakh for bronze while Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, too, announced cash prizes for the sportspersons who have won medals.

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