The Haryana government on Friday felicitated the state's Olympic-returned athletes with over Rs 23 crore of cash awards. Haryana Governor Bandaru Dattatreya distributed cheques to the players along with job offer letters as per the state's sports policy.
A state-level felicitation ceremony was organised at Panchkula to honour 32 players of the state who took part in the Tokyo Olympics.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar could not attend the function as his younger brother Gulshan Khattar passed away at a private hospital in Gurugram.
Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra, who was running high fever, did not attend the function personally but joined the event virtually for a few minutes.
Some more athletes, including wrestler Vinesh Phogat, shooter Manu Bhaker and boxers Amit Panghal, Vikas Krishan and Manish Kaushik and discus thrower Seema Punia did not attend the function. However, family members of the players, who could not attend the function for some reasons, were present at the event.
A cheque of Rs 6 crore was accepted on behalf of Neeraj Chopra by his uncle Bhim Chopra. The Governor also gave away cheques worth Rs 4 crore and Rs 2.5 crore to wrestlers Ravi Dahiya and Bajrang Punia for winning silver and bronze medals respectively.
The two Haryana players -- Surender Kumar and Sumit -- who were part of the men's Hockey team were also given cheques worth Rs 2.5 crore each.
The players were also given job offer letters along with a plot each at concessional rates.
The list of the players who received cheques amounting to Rs 50 lakh included Deepak Punia, Udita, Sharmila Devi, Savita Punia and women's hockey team captain Rani Rampal.
Those who received awards of Rs 15 lakh, included Seema Bisla, Sonam Malik, Anshu Malik, Yashaswini Singh Deswal and Sanjeev Rajput. Addressing the gathering, Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala announced the setting up of five sports centres of excellence in the state.
He said in these centres, free coaching will be provided to the talented players. These centres will be opened in boxing, hockey, shooting, wrestling and athletics.