Come December 4, Punjab would be setting a precedent by offering a staggering Rs 2.1 crore as prize money in the Punjab State Games, which is being billed as a grass-roots event.
The weeklong event will witness contests in 10 disciplines, including hockey, football, kabaddi, athletics, boxing and shooting.
The teams winning gold would be richer by Rs 10 lakh, while in individual events, athletes will get Rs 1 lakh for gold. There are handsome sums on offer for the silver and bronze medallists.
Apart from the prize money, the government will be spending Rs 2 crore on the conduct of the tournament.
"After the Commonwealth Games, various agencies, including state governments, have offered lakhs of rupees as cash awards.
But there is hardly any prize money for sportspersons at the grass-roots level. So, we decided to introduce cash incentives even at the state-level tournaments.
The prize money is huge and hopefully this will attract more players to take up sports seriously," said a senior official at the office of deputy chief minister, Sukhbir Singh Badal, who also holds the sports portfolio.
"The government wants to revive the sporting culture and introducing prize money at the Games is part of its revival plans. The Games will be an annual feature," he added.