Table tennis star Manika Batra, arguably India’s best athlete at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, is yet to receive the cash reward promised by the Delhi government, more than three months after her historic effort in Gold Coast.
The Delhi-based Manika had won an unprecedented four medals at the Games including two gold medals (team and singles), a silver (doubles) and bronze (mixed doubles).
As per the existing policy of the Delhi government, a CWG gold medallist gets Rs 14 lakh for gold, Rs 10 lakh for silver and Rs 6 lakh for bronze. Since the amount of the cash prize was a lot lesser than what the athletes from Haryana and Tamil Nadu get, a revised proposal had gone to the Delhi government for approval.
A gold medal winner from Haryana receives Rs 1.5 crore and Tamil Nadu government gives Rs 50 lakh for the yellow metal.
Dharemender Singh, Deputy Director of Education (Sports) in the Delhi government, confirmed that Manika’s file has been sent to the cabinet for approval.
“The file of the specific case you are referring to has gone to the cabinet for approval,” Singh told PTI.
Sources close to the player revealed that under the revised reward, Manika stands to get Rs 1.7 crore for her four medals (Rs 50 lakh each for gold, Rs 40 for silver and Rs 30 lakh for bronze).
At the felicitation ceremony organised by the Table Tennis Federation of India (TTFI) last night, Manika said she is confident of getting her due soon from the Delhi government.
“I don’t know why it has not happened so far but I know it will happen,” said Manika, who is now preparing for the next month’s Asian Games in Indonesia.
The central government had promptly felicitated the medal winners 15 days after the Games, held from April 4-15.
TTFI secretary M P Singh expressed disappointment at Manika not being given her due.
“I wish it had happened earlier. Most state governments have already felicitated their medal winning athletes. They are the pride of the entire nation,” M P Singh said.
In fact, Manika had met Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia in May and they both promised her “full support”.
The irony of the entire matter is that double Olympic medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar happens to be OSD Sports in Delhi government. It could not be confirmed that if the champion athlete too is yet to receive his cash reward for winning the gold in Gold Coast.