Bajrang Punia has revealed that he will return the prize money that is set to be rewarded with by the Haryana government if national wrestlers are not compensated with a fair amount. Along with Punia, two-time Commonwealth gold medallist Vinesh Phogat, questioned the Haryana government’s policy.
Two-time Commonwealth Gold medalist Bajrang Punia has gone public with his criticism of the change in sports policy by the Haryana government. Punia was part of a host of national wrestling icons who condemn the new policies and claimed that it is an attempt to kill the sporting culture of the region.
As per the new policy, “In case a sportsperson wins more than one medal during a financial year, he/ she will receive full award money for the highest medal and 50% of the award money for the second and subsequent medals.”
In a recent interview with TOI, Punia revealed that he will not accept the prize money if his fellow wrestlers are not compensated respectfully.
“They have deducted Rs 75 lakh from my award. I am just disappointed. I will return my prize money if the players did not get respect. When you promise reward to a player, it is just not the money that you are promising but support. If they cannot fulfill your commitment, then what will any player expect from them in the future.
"When a player wins medals, the country wins too. It is not achieved by one day’s hard work but is won by a lifetime of dedication. These kind of steps can hurt the morale and self-esteem of athletes. It’s my request to the government that they rethink their decision.” Punia told TOI.
This was in response to the state’s cancellation the award function for 3,000 state players and informed the athletes that the cash awards would be deposited in their bank accounts by June 25. The function was scheduled to be held in Panchkula on June 24 where cash prizes worth Rs 90 crores were to be distributed.
In addition to Punia, two-time Commonwealth gold medallist Vinesh Phogat, also criticised the government’s new state policy.
“Every time they come up with something to annoy the athletes. No government in Haryana has ever insulted the athletes like this. I want to know that till date how many athletes have been rewarded or provided a job by the state government,” said Vinesh.
“I humbly request the Haryana government that stop humiliating their athletes for sake of their own political gain,” Phogat told TOI.
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