Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday presented the State Sports Awards, worth Rs. 15.55 crore, to 23 players in recognition of their outstanding performance in 2018 Commonwealth and Asian Games.
Legendary athlete Milkha Singh accompanied the Chief Minister at the event, where an Apple I-phone was also presented to each of the players, along with the certificates.
Speaking on the occasion, Captain Singh reiterated his government's commitment to promote sports at the grassroots level and to motivate youngsters into sports through various initiatives.
He expressed the confidence that Punjab players would shine in the next Olympics as there is no dearth of talent in the state. The Punjab Government would channelise the energy and talent of sports stars positively to secure medals in the Olympics, he added.
Among those honoured by the Chief Minister were Heena Sidhu, who has been awarded Rs. 1.75 crore for clinching gold, silver and bronze medals in Pistol Shooting in Commonwealth and Asian Games.
Other awardees in the Commonwealth category included Pranav Chopra (Rs. 75 lakh for gold in Badminton), Anjum Moudgil (Rs. 50 lakh for Silver medal in Shooting), Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (Rs 40 lakh for winning bronze medal in Discus throw), Vikas Thakur (Rs. 40 lakh for Bronze in Weightlifting). Weightlifter Pardeep Singh's mother received his award for Rs 50 lakh for winning the silver medal.
Among the Asian Games gold medal winners, Tajinder Pal Singh Toor and Swaran Singh were conferred Rs 1 crore each respectively in Shotput and Rowing.
Sukhmeet Singh received award and Rs. 1 crore for gold in Rowing, while Rs. 1 crore was awarded to Arpinder Singh for winning gold in Triple Jump (Athletics).
While Rs. 75 lakh were presented to Randeep Kaur Khehra for a silver medal in Kabaddi, Rs. 75 lakh was given to Reena Khokhar for silver in Hockey.
Rs. 50 lakh were awarded to Rupinder Pal for the bronze medal in Hockey. While Rs. 75 lakh was given to Gurjit Kaur for silver in Hockey, Rs 50 lakh was presented to Akashdeep Singh.
An award of Rs 50 lakh was received by the mother of Hockey player Manpreet Singh.
Among other awardees were the Hockey players who won the Bronze in the Jakarta Asian Games. They were all given Rs. 50 lakh each, which was received by their respective family members as they are currently in the national camp of Indian Hockey.
Through a live online message, they extended their thanks to Punjab Government for honouring them and assured that they would bring more laurels to the state and the nation. These awardees were Mandeep Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Simranjeet Singh, Krishna Bahadur Pathak and Dilpreet Singh.
Award and prize money of Rs. 50 lakh was given to Bhagwan Singh, the bronze medal winner in Rowing.
Describing the Sports Awards ceremony as a historic occasion in the history of Punjab Sports, Sports Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi said it was a matter of great pride that the state was being led by a sportsperson, Captain Amarinder Singh, and the state had recently unveiled a comprehensive Sports Policy, which would further give a fillip to sports in Punjab.
He said that the CM had also assured to provide government jobs to players with outstanding performance according to their qualification.
The Sports Minister also announced that the Punjab government would ensure the best coaching facilities and state-of-the-art infrastructure so that the state could scale new heights of success in National and International competitions.
He said that State has identified land for setting up Sports University at Patiala. A great marathon will be organised by the department at state as well as district levels, he added.
The Minister also called upon the Industrial units to adopt sports and players to further strengthen the Sports in the state.
Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, MLA Pargat Singh and President Punjab Olympic Association Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa were also present at the event.
Actor and comedian Gurpreet Ghuggi, addressing the gathering, lauded the initiative of Punjab government for restoring the sports culture in Punjab, which was earlier one of the frontrunner sports states in the country.
Padma Shri Bahadur Singh, Arjuna Awardees Baljit Sing Dhillon, Gurdev Singh Gill, Jaipal Singh and Jagjit Singh, Olympians Ajit Singh, Sukhbir Singh Gill, former DGP Mahal Singh Bhullar, Secretary General of Punjab Olympic Association Raja K S Sidhu and comedian Kapil Sharma were also present.