Even as the Chandigarh Cyclothon is set to be held on Sunday, winners of the previous two cyclothons held this year have been awaiting the prize money for the past more than six months.
Winners of the Pune Cyclothon (February 27) and Mumbai Cyclothon (March 13) were given enlarged dummy cheques immediately after the events. The real ones continue to elude the cyclists.
The total prize money of the events is Rs 10 lakh. The first three position holders get Rs 1 lakh, Rs 75,000 and Rs 50,000, respectively; there’s also a cash prize for the top-20 finishers.
This year, the cyclothons have been organised by the Cycling Federation of India (CFI) and Sport 18, a division of CNBC Network 18. Sport 18, who had signed a three-year multi-crore deal with the CFI last year, had given the sponsorship amount, including the prize money, of both events to the federation. However, the CFI has not done the needful so far.
“Usually, we get enlarged dummy cheques on winning the event. Later, we receive the real cheques or the prize money is transferred to our accounts. However, it has not happened this time,” said a cyclist who was among the top-20 finishers in the Pune and Mumbai cyclothons.
“They must be pocketing the interest on our money,” said another international cyclist. Satish Menon of Sports 18 said, “As per the deal, the prize money of both events has been given to the CFI.”
The CFI also conducted a cycling event in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, in August. The event was not part of the CFI-Sports 18 deal, but there, too, the winners are awaiting their cash prize. The event carried a prize money of Rs 3.5 lakh.
When contacted, CFI secretary general Omkar Singh said, “We will be giving the money to the players soon. We got the sponsorship amount late and that’s why the delay happened.”