Quite often, players hold aloft a blown-up dummy cheque after winning an event. But it's not often that they struggle to convert it into real money. The Indian skiers, however, are facing this problem.
Prize money in skiing was introduced for the first time in the Auli Open Skiing Championship, held from January 7-10. The winners were handed dummy cheques but it's been five long months since the competition. The winners are yet to receive the real cheque.
The total prize money in the event was Rs 12 lakh and it was organised by the Uttarakhand government and the Winter Games Federation of India (WGIF). While the top three in the senior section were to receive Rs 50,000, Rs 30,000 and Rs 20,000 respectively, in the junior section, the cash awards were 50% of the amounts.
"I had won two medals in skiing and it's been over five months. I'm yet to receive a single rupee of the assured prize money," said a skier from Himachal Pradesh. Forget the cash awards, the organisers have even failed to pay the fees of the 100-odd technical officials.
When contacted, WGTI president SS Patwal said, "The prize money was announced by the state govt and we received it last week. We have started distributing the money. All the medallists will get there due soon. However, we are yet to receive the officiating fees." Interestingly, the winners of the Doon Open Ice Skating Championship, held in the last week of December, got the prize money within a week of the event.