IOA felicitates Tokyo stars; Anurag Thakur says India aims to become a sporting powerhouse

IOA felicitates Tokyo stars; Anurag Thakur says India aims to become a sporting powerhouse

New Delhi, Aug 15 (IANS) The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Sunday felicitated Tokyo Olympics medalists Neeraj Chopra, Mirabai Chanu, Ravi Dahiya, PV Sindhu, Lovlina Borgohain, Bajrang Punia and Indian men’s hockey team at the Ashoka Hotel here.

Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Anurag Thakur and Minister of State – Sports Nisith Pramanik were also present at the event.

Addressing the gathering, Thakur said, “India aims to become a sporting powerhouse. We need all the stakeholders to come together. Sports is a state subject. Under PM Modi, we have started the TOPS Scheme. I am glad that most of you have benefited from it, even during the pandemic.”

“Khelo India is another initiative that has seen huge participation. We are hoping for huge participation this time around. You guys (Indian Olympians) made millions of Indians wake up early and watch you perform.”

At Tokyo, India had won seven medals — one gold, two silver and four bronze — which is their best-ever haul from the Olympics.

IOA president Narinder Batra, too, showered praise on the country’s athletes for their performance at the mega sporting spectacle.

“There was a lot of despondency in the country due to Covid-19 before the Olympics. But your (athletes) performance in the Tokyo Olympics has changed all that and you have brought smiles to the 1.3 billion people,” Batra said.

The IOA awarded Olympic champion Neeraj with a cash award of Rs 75 lakh. The silver medallists- wrestler Ravi Dahiya and weightlifter Mirabai Chanu – received Rs 50 lakh each. While, the bronze medallists – shutter P V Sindhu, boxer Lovlina Borgohain and wrestler Bajrang Punia – got Rs 25 lakh. Each member of the bronze-medal winning men’s hockey team got Rs 10 lakh each.

The coach of gold winner Chopra will receive Rs 12.5 lakh, while coaches of Dahiya and Chanu got Rs 10 lakh. The coach for the bronze winners was given Rs 7.5 lakh. It was also announced that Rs 1 lakh will be given to all 128 Tokyo Olympians. Besides, the medal-winning National Sports Federations (NSFs) were presented with cheques of Rs 30 lakh each.

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