IOA felicitates Birmingham 2022 medallists, We have fulfilled all the promises: Rajeev Mehta -
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IOA felicitates Birmingham 2022 medallists, We have fulfilled all the promises: Rajeev Mehta

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Rakesh Thapliyal 

New Delhi: Sports Minister Anurag Singh Thakur was missing as Indian Olympic Association felicitated India’s Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games medal winners at The Ashok Hotel on Saturday evening. Shri Thakur was the chief guest when a great send-off was given to these players for Birmingham Games but he was not present to welcome them after their return with 61 medals. The top officials of IOA honoured all the medal winners with cash rewards worth INR 20 lakh, INR 10 lakh, and INR 7.5 lakh to the gold, silver, and bronze medallists, respectively. Many players, including gold medal winners badminton Star PB Sindhu, Member of badminton doubles men”s team satwiksairaj Rainkireddy, Silver medal winner Women’s cricket team etc, were not present to receive the cash award.

IOA Secretary General,  Rajeev Mehta said  “‘ We have fulfilled all the promises made to the players and federations. No money is pending till date. I have completed two terms as Secretary General and may not be able to continue as per Govt’s sports code. I wish the new members of Executive Board of IOA not only continue this but double the cash awards for the players.The cash rewards are a means to not only acknowledge the immense effort of the athletes but also a realistic way of supporting them in their chosen path because only when the athletes, and their families, are financially sound, will our sportspersons be able to chase excellence in this field”.

Mr Mehta also said “I take this opportunity to congratulate all our medallists for bringing glory to India with a combined haul of 61 medals, despite shooting, one of our top medal-yielding sports, not being part of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. I would also like to thank all the coaches and support staff members for the hard work they put in behind the scenes to prepare our athletes for these Games, and the IOA is delighted to see their hard work come to fruition.I would also like to thank our sponsors for their support and the IOA Acting President Mr Anil Khanna and the IOA treasurer Mr Anandeshwar Panday for their assistance.”

Acting President Anil Khanna, Treasurer Anandeshwar Panday, Team India’s Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Chef de Mission Rajesh Bhandari, General Team Manager Maninder Pal Singh, and former IOA president N. Ramachandran, graced the occasion and felicitated the medallists.

Mr. Khanna said ” I must say that Mr. Rajeev Mehta worked very hard for the last three months so that our players and officials do not face any problem. He worked behind the curtain with his team in the IOA and didn’t spend much time with us in Birmingham also. Hats off to him and IOA team.”

(L-R) Mr Rajesh Bhandari (Team India’s Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Chef de Mission), Ms Renuka Singh (bowler), Ms Shafali Verma (allrounder), Ms Rajeshwari Gayakwad (bowler), Mr Anandeshwar Pandey (IOA Treasurer), Mr Anil Khanna (IOA Acting President), Mr Rajeev Mehta (IOA Secretary General), Ms Harmanpreet Kaur (captain and allrounder), Mr Ramesh Powar (head coach), Ms Meghna Singh (bowler), Ms Harleen Deol (allrounder), Mr Maroof Fajandar (manager), Ms Annesha Ghosh (Team India’s Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Public Relations Officer and Press Attaché).

IOA officials meet Indian women’s cricket team
Earlier in the day, IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta, Acting President  Anil Khanna, Treasurer Anandeshwar Panday and Team India’s Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Chef de Mission Mr Rajesh Bhandari met with Commonwealth Games debutants and Birmingham 2022 silver medallists, the Indian women’s cricket team, ahead of their departure from New Delhi.

The officials congratulated them on their historic silver medal, which, the IOA believes is testament to the relevance of the Commonwealth Games given the rise in popularity women’s cricket in India is expected to witness following the national team’s medal-winning feat in the inaugural edition of the women’s cricket competition. Harmanpreet Kaur, the Indian cricket captain, was one of the members of the cricketing touring party who had a chat with the IOA officials, as did their coach Mr Ramesh Powar and manager Maroof Fajandar.

IOA pushes for inclusion of shooting and wrestling at Victoria 2026 and sheds light on IOC situation
On behalf of the IOA, Mr Mehta and Mr Khanna reiterated their stance on making a case for having shooting and wrestling included in the final sports programme of the next edition of the Commonwealth Games, which will be held in the Australian state of Victoria in 2026.

IOA Acting President Mr Anil Khanna: “I have already written to [the national federations of] wrestling as well as shooting. Shooting has already confirmed that the international federation is already following up the matter with the CWG. The wrestling federation had already been informed [that] the president of the CWG has already taken up the matter. By 30th September, a view will be taken.”

The IOA officials also addressed the concerns raised recently by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the IOA’s internal affairs.

Acting President Mr Anil Khanna: “[…] As per Clause 27 of the Olympic Charter, which relates to the National Olympic Committees – there are eight or nine clauses – we are complying with every clause. We respect the Olympic Charter, we look after our athletes extremely well, our government is very supportive of looking after our athletes, we have done extremely well at the Commonwealth Games right now, we had a good performance at the [Tokyo 2020] Olympics, we are looking forward to doing international competitions, India will be one of the host countries for the Olympics, the Asian Games and various [other] things in the near future. So, when we are complying with everything, there is no reason for the IOC to suddenly panic so fast… I think we are moving towards a more robust and better constitution, and a better, stronger IOA.”

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