After an impressive show at the recent Commonwealth Games, it was time for cash awards and a pat on the back from Defence Minister A K Antony for the Armed Forces sportsmen.
Antony announced cash awards of Rs 12 lakh each for winner of a gold medal, Rs seven lakh each for silver medal and Rs five lakh for those who brought in a bronze medal.
He felicitated services medal winners who won a total of 10 Gold, 7 silver and 8 bronze medals in the 19th Commonwealth Games that concluded here yesterday.
The decision to substantially increase the cash award purse was taken at the venue by Antony after a quick word with Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju, Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar and the Services Chiefs who were present for the felicitation ceremony.
According to the earlier plans, a gold medallist was to receive Rs five lakh, a silver medallist Rs 3.5 lakh and a bronze medal winner Rs two lakh. "I have no words to congratulate the armed forces sports-persons, because my vocabulary is limited.
But, with all my sincerity and joy from the heart, I congratulate all the medal winners for the creditable performance they have given," Antony said in his brief remarks at the function.
Noting that armed forces sportsmen had bagged a quarter of the medals won by the country, he said the Military World Games to be held next year in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, would give them an opportunity to prepare for the 2012 Olympics.
Antony pointed out that the Armed Forces had hosted the 4th Military World Games at Hyderabad at a "mere" cost of Rs 50 crore.
He also lauded the leadership provided by Vice Admiral D K Dewan, President of the Services Sports Control Board who headed the Armed Forces Coordination Committee to provide support towards the conduct of the 19th Commonwealth Games.