Home SPORTS Empty promise? No cash rewards yet for Kerala’s Asiad medallists

Empty promise? No cash rewards yet for Kerala’s Asiad medallists

KOCHI: It’s been 50 days since the state government announced cash rewards to the medallists of the Asian Games but the ten Kerala athletes, who stood on the podium in Hangzhou, are yet to receive the promised amount.
It was only after some of these medallists had threatened to leave the state citing the step-motherly treatment meted out to them by the government that the state cabinet in its meeting on October 18, ten days after the Asian Games had ended, announced a cash reward for them.Though the amount paled in comparison with the rewards announced by the other states, the Kerala government’s decision to reward gold medal winners in Hangzhou with Rs 25 lakhs each, silver medallists with Rs 19 lakhs each and bronze medallists with Rs 12.5 lakhs each did give them something to cheer.
A grand function was organised in Thiruvananthapuram a day after the cabinet decision, where the chief minister himself felicitated the winners. But as it turns out, the Asiad medallists were only presented with mementoes during that function.
“They said that we would receive the cash reward within a week. But it’s been nearly two months and I am still waiting for the promised reward from our state government,” said Ancy Sojanwho won a silver medal in the women’s long jump in Hangzhou.
The star of the Indian hockey team’s victorious campaign in Hangzhou, PR Sreejeshechoed a similar sentiment. “They already have my bank account details. But so far I cannot see any amount deposited in my account from the state government as a reward for winning the Asian Games gold medal in Hangzhou. And nobody has contacted me after that event,” said Sreejesh, who is also a joint director in the Department of General and Higher Education.
Muhammed Ajmal Variyathodia member of the gold medal-winning 4x400m men’s relay squad, said that there was no response from the officials after the felicitation event. “I received a message a week after the felicitation event from a person, who introduced himself as a Sports Council official and asked me to share the account details so that they could credit the amount. But that was the last interaction I have had on this matter. Now we don’t even know whom to contact or whether we will get the amount at all, ” said Ajmal.
“We constantly message other medallists and discuss this issue. I can assure you that none of us has received the cash reward so far,” added Ajmal.
Despite repeated attempts, state sports minister V. Abdurahiman was unavailable for a comment as he was busy with the Nava Kerala Sadas in Ernakulam district.
Meanwhile, a source at the Kerala State Sports Council indicated that the delay in releasing the funds for the Asiad medallists is due to the acute financial crisis faced by the state government and the restrictions in treasury payments.

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