“Punjab is all set to excel in the Tokyo Olympics-2021 and bagging maximum quota for the state for this mega event is the main and sole aim with Punjab Institute of Sports (P.I.S.) and other allied institutions engaged headlong and burning midnight oil under the aegis of the Sports Department.” These views were expressed here today by the Sports, Youth Services and NRIs Affairs Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi at the Punjab Municipal Bhawan, while honouring the 90 players, who brought laurels for the state and country in the year 2017-18, with prizes worth around Rs.1.66 crore.
Addressing the special award ceremony, Rana Sodhi said that starting with the first phase today of providing monetary assistance to players, we have initiated the process to fulfill our promise made to the sports fraternity to honour them for their remarkable achievements in sports arena of international and national repute. In coming days, such 1135 sportspersons would be accorded with cash prizes as the COVID pandemic has already much delayed the process of honouring sports persons.
Rana Sodhi said that these 90 players, who have outshined at international, national and state level during the year 2017-18, are being given Rs.1,65,65,700. Out of these, 36 international players have been given around Rs.1.26, while 54 national level sportspersons with prize money of around Rs.39.39 lakh. “I hope, this initiative would be advantageous for the budding players to boost their morale for excelling the international sports, especially in Tokyo-2021 Olympics”, he said, adding that the sports department has decided to provide cash awards worth Rs.4.85 crores to decorated players, out of which, around Rs.1.66 crores have been disbursed today.
Pointing out further, Rana Sodhi said that maximum podium finishes are expected from Punjab with Hockey as the leading contender because the half of National hockey squad is expected to feature players from the State. This is amply borne out by the fact that out of total 33 players attending the camp at Bengaluru, 17 hails from Punjab. The Women’s team has two players from the state.
Divulging about presenting a cheque of Rs.5 lakh on behalf of the Punjab Government to the pugilist Simranjit Kaur, who is the first boxer from the State to qualify for Olympics, Rana Sodhi said that Simranjit is also the first boxer from Punjab, who bagged Silver in the Asia-Oceania qualifying tournament and secured a place in the Olympics. Announcing that the Punjab Government would bear the expenses of Simranjit Kaur’s preparation for the Olympics, the Minister disclosed that the prodigy from Punjab also had a preparation stint at Punjab Institute of Sports.
Claiming the new sports policy as extremely beneficial for preparing budding players for the international arena, Rana Sodhi said that no stone is left unturned in ensuring every facility with the inclusion of providing coaching from abroad and equipment, to ensure that the players come up triumphs at the Olympic level.