Indian athletes are paying a heavy 'prize' for competing in the Indian Grand Prix! Sounds ridiculous, but it's true that the Athletic Federation of India (AFI) has not yet distributed the prize-money to its athletes who won medals in the five Grand Prix events held on May 3 (Kochi), May 8 (Coimbatore), May 14 (Chennai), June 7 (Jamshedpur) and June 10 (Ranchi).
The prize-money for the first three positions was Rs 20, 000, Rs 15, 000 and Rs 10,000, respectively.
The AFI had announced that the money for all the meets would be given away at the end of the last GP in Ranchi on June 10. But it is more than three-and-half months now and the winners are still waiting for the promised sum.
Not only that, the athletes are yet to get the prize-money for the three-leg Asian Grand Prix despite the last leg taking place in Hong Kong on May 30. Interestingly, the Asian Athletics Association (AAA) usually releases the money to the respective national federations after 30 days of the meet.
The prize-money for the top three positions in the Asian GP is $1500 (Rs 74,000), $800 (Rs 39,000) and $500 (Rs 23,000) respectively. “It’s more than three months now but the AFI has yet to distribute money for the Indian GPs, despite the fact that it had roped in a big sponsor,” said a top athlete.
“We were told during the Asian GP that we would get the prize-money after a month, but so far we haven't got a rupee,” said another athlete.
“Delay in the distribution of prize-money is a routine affair. We received the money for last year's Asian GP just a couple of months back. Why is the AFI keeping our money? To earn interest?” questioned another athlete.
AFI general secretary, Lalit Bhanot, when contacted said: “We have started distributing the prize-money for the Indian GP. For the Asian GP, as soon as we get the money from the AAA we will distribute it.”