M A I N   N E W S

After uproar, cash flows in for hockey champs
MS Unnikrishnan/TNS

New Delhi, September 14
Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Ajay Maken made a magnanimous gesture towards the members of the Asian Champions Trophy-winning men’s hockey team when he sanctioned Rs 1.5 lakh to each of the players, who won the title in Ordos (China) last Sunday. Maken did the firefighting act when the players refused to accept Rs 25,000 given to each player by Hockey India.

Though Maken tried to wriggle out of the controversy earlier in the day, saying that his ministry had nothing to do with the amount announced by Hockey India, he relented when HI secretary-general Narinder Batra made it clear that the body was in no position to give more money to the players now. Batra requested the Sports Ministry to consider granting reward money to the players under a special scheme.

“After discussions with the officials (of the ministry), it was decided that the Sports Ministry will give an award of Rs 1.5 lakh to each of the 17 members of the hockey team that won the Asian Championship Trophy at Ordos,” Maken said at a media briefing at his chamber in the evening.

The minister said the money was sanctioned from the head ‘Special Awards Medal Winners in international sports events’. Under the scheme, the government had given cash awards worth Rs 33.89 crore in 2010-11, Rs 5.50 crore in 2009-10 and Rs 8.75 crore during 2008-09.

Batra said the players had refused to accept the HI reward money as they felt that it was “very little in relation to their performance”. He then wrote to Maken to announce a “suitable reward for the players and officials, which will help in motivating the team”.

Maken acceded to the HI request, as he did not want to open up another wound after the FIH had pulled out the Champions Trophy from Delhi yesterday, and awarded it to New Zealand, even as FIH president Leandro Negre was in Delhi to have discussions with the ministry, SAI and Hockey India officials and IOA acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra.





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