The Haryana Government honoured 19 Olympians, including four medallists from the London Olympics, at a grand function here on Sunday.

Chief Minister Bhoopinder Singh Hooda gave away a cash award of Rs. 1.5 crore to silver medal winning wrestler Sushil Kumar. Bronze medallists Yogeshwar Dutt, Gagan Narang and Saina Nehwal were given Rs. 1 crore each. Besides, they got an Audi car worth Rs. 50 lakh each.

Woman discus thrower Krishna Poonia, who finished seventh, and boxer Vijender Singh, who made it to the quarterfinals, were given Rs. 31 lakh and Rs. 21 lakh respectively.

Geeta Phogat, the first woman wrestler to qualify for the Olympics, and the youngest athlete from the State, wrestler Amit Kumar, bagged Rs. 21 lakh each.

The Chief Minister also offered posts of Inspector and Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) to Amit Kumar and Krishna Poonia respectively.

Annu Raj Singh, Sanjeev Rajput (shooting), Garima Choudhary (judo), Sumit Sangwan, Vikas Krishan, Manoj Kumar, Jai Bhagwan (boxing), Om Prakash, Seema Antil (athletics), Sandeep Singh and Sardar Singh (hockey) took home a cheque of Rs. 11 lakh each.

The non-medallists also got a car (Maruti SX4) each. Besides, all the athletes were also given a LED television set, a handycam and a DVD player.

The coaches of these athletes were also honoured with cash awards. Coaches of the medallists got Rs. 3 lakh each, while those who trained other Olympians received Rs. 1 lakh each.

Before showering gifts and cash awards on the sportspersons, Mr. Hooda announced that his Government would continue to encourage the athletes from his state. “Padak lao, pad pao (Get medals and take jobs)…If our Government stays till the 2016 Olympics, then the cash awards will be doubled. If medallists like Yogeshwar, Narang, Saina and Beijing Games medallist Vijender (Singh) want to open academies in the State, then they will be given land,” said Mr. Hooda.

“We have always promoted sports and taking this forward we will appoint 790 coaches all over the state.”

Mr. Hooda announced a grant of Rs. 1 crore each for the native villages of the Olympic medallists for promotion of sports.

On behalf of the athletes, Sushil thanked the State Government for its gesture. “No other state encourages sportspersons like Haryana. This will motivate us and we will definitely perform better in the next Olympics,” said the Olympic silver medallist. — Principal Correspondent

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