New Delhi, Aug 17 (DHNS): Chaos, confusion prevail in the felicitation ceremony of Olympic medal winners Utter chaos greeted the Indian athletes, including the six London Olympic medallists, in the felicitation function organised at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Thursday.
The Sports Ministry had invited the medal winners Sushil Kumar,Vijay Kumar, Gagan Narang, Saina Nehwal, MC Mary Kom and Yogeshwar Dutt along with their parents and 47 athletes and the coaches as “special guests.”
But only the medal winners got the luxury of sitting under the shade of a makeshift podium. Other athletes, the officials from IOA and various federations, and athletes’ parents were made to sit under the open sky in the hot and humid conditions. More than 2000 young sports persons of “come and play scheme” of SAI, several schools children and enthusiastic fans poured in large numbers and made it difficult for the security officials to exercise control.
Before long, the non-medal winners began to find their way out—boxers Vijender Singh and Manoj Kumar were among the first to leave. The hockey team, too, stood unattended. To add to the confusion, the master of ceremony called Yogeshwar Dutt by the name ” Yogendra Dutta”, Saina Nehwal became “Sania Nehwal”, shooter Joydeep Karmakar was called an "archer" and Narang was addressed as the "silver medallist."
Amidst the cacophony, Sports Minister Ajay Makan went ahead with his speech, lauding the medal winners and announcing the launch of “OPEX Olympics -2020” targetting to get 25 medals. "As a part of the programme, all athletes would be provided international and domestic exposure, foreign coaching and other infrastructural facilities,” Maken said. The players were later taken to Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate in open jeeps and they paid floral tributes to the martyrs. Cash awards of Rs 30 lakh each were presented to the silver medallists --Sushil Kumar and Vijay Kumar, and Rs 20 lakh each to the four bronze medal winners.
However, the event left many disgruntled with Wrestling Federation of India president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh blasting the arrangements. “Is this the way you treat the national heroes and their family members? You have specially called them to felicitate and not even once the names of family members were taken,” he said.
“The entire Indian contingent was called and there was no arrangement for other athletes. It was just a way to get publicity. We were called there to be insulted.” Meanwhile, it had been a long day for the medal winners who have been attending a series of felicitation functions.
Rifleman Narang was felicitated by Manav Rachna International University where he is pursuing his MBA . “I want to travel across the country, in all schools and colleges with my medal. I want youngsters to hold the medal and get inspired to take up shooting,” he said.
In another ceremony, Mary Kom was awarded Rs 11 lakh by sponsors Monnet Group. The seven-member men's boxing team, that returned empty handed, were given a collective prize money of Rs 10 lakh for their good show. Shooter Vijay was promoted Subedar Major and also given a cash award of Rs 30 lakh with Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh promising all help to elevate him to the rank of an officer.
“This promotion was due last year and I am happy to get it now,” said Vijay, who was also awarded Rs 25 lakh by SAIL.