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Government to honour corporates backing sport

india Updated: Jul 15, 2009 23:41 IST
Ajai Masand

Want to be honoured by the President of India along with Arjun Award winners at the Rashtrapati Bhavan this year? Self-effacing talent-spotters or corporate czars willing, among other things, to spend Rs 5 crore annually on sports promotion and development can apply.

On August 29, hockey legend Dhyan Chand's birthday and celebrated as National Sports Day, this time the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar will be added to the list that usually has Dronacharya, Khel Ratna and Arjuna awards.

"The awards have been devised to honour those who have been promoting sport financially or nurturing budding talent," said the ministry's joint secretary Injeti Sriniwas.

The four categories added this year are: Community sports --- identification and nurturing of budding/young talent, financial support for sports excellence, establishment and management of sports academies of excellence and employment of sportspersons and other sports welfare measures.

Each category will have one award comprising citation and trophy. The awards can be received by the head or CEO of the corporate. "The fact that the awards would be presented by the President of India should be enough inspiration for people to go ahead and contribute in any way possible," Sriniwas said.

Any corporate entity that has made annual contribution of Rs 5 crore or more towards sports promotion and development can apply directly to the ministry. For other categories, aspirants can apply through recognised sports bodies like the IOA, state governments, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and sports control boards.

A separate selection committee will be constituted every year comprising chairperson and 12 members who have excelled as sportspersons. The number of sportspersons trained and employed, the number of elite sportspersons assisted and establishing and managing sports academies are some of the criteria this committee would look into. "The awards initially may not trigger a newfound enthusiasm among corporates, but that's not our goal. We want to recognise the achievements of all those who are contributing their money and might," Sriniwas said.