Kejriwal honours Olympic Bronze Medallist Bajrang Punia with a cheque of Rs 1 crore, Olympians Manika Batra, Deepak Kumar and Coach Shallaz Kumar awarded 10 lac each -
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Kejriwal honours Olympic Bronze Medallist Bajrang Punia with a cheque of Rs 1 crore, Olympians Manika Batra, Deepak Kumar and Coach Shallaz Kumar awarded 10 lac each

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  • No lack of potential in India, governments did not support players properly, we are bridging the gap and supporting talent: Kejriwal
  • CM Arvind Kejriwal honours Olympic Bronze Medallist Bajrang Punia with a cheque of Rs 1 crore, Olympians Manika Batra, Deepak Kumar and Coach Shallaz Kumar awarded 10 lac each
  • CM hands over Paralympic Bronze Medallist Sharad Kumar his letter of appointment as an assistant director in the education department
  • If we expect 24 carat medals from players then we need to provide 24 carat facilities to them too: Dy CM Manish Sisodia


Bajrang Punia getting a cheque from Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia.

Khel Today Bureau
NEW DELHI: Showing Delhi Government’s commitment towards developing the state as a cradle for sportspersons, Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal today handed over monetary awards to Delhi’s Olympians for making the country proud at the highest level. The CM honoured Olympic Bronze Medallist Bajrang Punia with a cheque of Rs 1 crore; while, Olympians Manika Batra, Deepak Kumar and Coach Shallaz Kumar awarded 10 lac each. The CM also handed over Paralympic Bronze Medallist Sharad Kumar his letter of appointment as an assistant director in the education department at the event. Shri Kejriwal stated — There is no lack of potential in India; governments did not support players properly; we are bridging the gap and supporting talent. Delhi’s sports policy has three cornerstones — promoting a pro-sports culture in the state, identifying young talent and incentivising sportspersons who bring laurels. Will only be satisfied with our sports policy when we leave behind China and America in the arena. Have developed Delhi Sports University for the cause and will do whatever we can to make it a success. Call upon all sportspersons to contribute to the Delhi Sports University and prepare champions of the future. At the same time, Deputy Chief Minister Shri Manish Sisodia stated — Even when people do not consider a talent to be a sportsperson, the Kejriwal Government stands with them and nurtures them. If we expect 24 carat medals from players then we need to provide 24 carat facilities to them too. The Kejriwal Government supports players with Rs 2.5 lac to Rs 16 lac under various schemes. We have started the Delhi Sports University, an institute where sport is education.

Manika Batra.

The Directorate of Education and Sports organised a felicitation ceremony to honour the sportspersons who made the country proud at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal joined as the chief guest of the ceremony and personally handed over the award amounts to the sportspersons present at the event. Deputy Chief Minister Shri Manish Sisodia who holds the sports portfolio was also present at the ceremony and thoroughly motivated the players to keep up their performance. At the event, Olympic Bronze Medallist Wrestler Bajrang Punia was handed over a cheque of Rs 1 crore, while Olympians Manika Batra and Deepak Kumar were handed Rs 10-10 lac each. At the same time, Shllaz Kumar, the coach of Paralympian Sharad Kumar was awarded with Rs 10 lac while Sharad Kumar was presented his appointment letter as an Assistant Director in the department by the CM.

CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal said, “I congratulate all the sportspersons who have brought laurels to our country and our state. This ceremony is not just a way of honouring your contribution but also a way of acknowledging how honoured we are to host their presence. I sincerely pray to God that you continue to perform and inspire our youth. Every child sitting at home today looks at sportspersons like you and takes up a sport themselves. One successful player like you can inspire lacs of children to enter sports in India.”

Sharad Kumar.

He continued, “The sports policy that we have drafted in Delhi is a cohesive and constructive approach towards the development of sports as a skill in the state. We studied the sports policies of every single state in India and churned out whatever good we could out of them into our policy. This policy has three cornerstones — first, to develop a culture of sports in Delhi by motivating the general public and their children to play as much as they want. Second — to identify the potential of sportspersons at the nascent stages and support them financially and otherwise. Third — to incentivise those who have proved their mettle at the international stage.”

The CM added, “The policy has been doing great but I will only consider it to be successful when more medals start coming home. To blow our trumpet without a lot in our kitty won’t be justified. The day this country leaves behind China and America in these sports is when we will be satisfied. This can’t just be implemented throughout policy intervention. It needs a mindset intervention. To develop a sports positive mindset we have developed the Delhi Sports University. It is the first year of the Sports University right now but we will do whatever we can to make it successful.”

Shri Kejriwal concluded, “I call upon all sportspersons to join the initiative, we will provide you with as much support as we can from our end. If you contribute to the cause then we will become a leader in the field of sports too. It seems difficult but nothing is impossible if you set your eyes on it. Our country does not lack talent, the lacking is on the end of the governments who have not been able to support, identify and provide facilities to players. We aim to bridge all these gaps and drive our country to excellence.”

Congratulating everyone present on the occasion, Deputy CM, as well as Sports and Education Minister Shri Manish Sisodia said, “The proud moment of a sportsperson waving their national flag is one that is played on repeat by every country. So, when we see our sportspersons bearing the Tiranga in their hands while participating or emerging victorious in any Championship, our chests swell with pride, and our eyes well up with emotion – and the entire world watches these moments with utmost respect. So, I express gratitude from the entire Delhi Government to all our Olympians as well as other sportspersons – it is because of you that the entire world has experienced India’s name and national flag receive respect.”

He further said, “The event that has been organised by the Kejriwal Government today can be termed as token support from our end. Ever since the formation of the Aam Aadmi Party’s government in Delhi in 2015, Chief Minister Shri Arvind has always said that our sportspersons need the support worth all 24 karat of gold which they aim to win in their respective competitions. Thanks to the progressive schemes, which have been availed by many, the Delhi Government has stood by emerging athletes from an early age of 13-14, an age when family and teachers chase after students to focus on education over the uncertainty of sports. From a scheme for these budding sportspersons to that for managing logistics, international travel & stays, and coaching for excelling athletes performing on national and international levels. In the first scheme, the novice players get a financial support of INR 2.5 to 5 lacs, while in the latter, the expert level champions get a support of up to INR 16 lacs per annum. The Sports Policy created by the Delhi Government is a highly progressive one, which covers all such bases, including practice for kids who are still working on their sport, developing world class facilities in the state, and the ultimate step of building a Sports University in Delhi.”

He added, “A popular quote by our CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal about the new Sports University is that – ‘Yahaan Khel Hi Padhai Hoga’ (Here, sports is education). Sports and education have always been viewed as completely distinct parts of a student’s life. However, the noble vision that our CM had was one of a blend between the two, where education is sports, and sports is education – where a student’s sporting achievements are viewed as equivalent to that of academic achievements, only then the student will develop into a champion. Otherwise, if we go by our old system, a student is only recognised as successful after getting excellent marks in exams and having 100% attendance, while on the other hand the coach pressurises the student to show up for coaching if one wants to become a champion – confusing the child, and making it difficult for them to balance life. Hence, the entire university was designed with a motto to link the two worlds, of education and sports, and make them one. From this session the admissions for our Sports University will begin, which will give a platform to talented individuals from all over Delhi as well as the country to hone their mastery in their choice of sport. School level admissions will also begin, for which the Specialised School of Excellence on Sports has been launched by the Delhi Sports University and the Directorate of Education, Delhi.”

He concluded, “So I urge you all to avail these schemes and take full advantage of the opportunities that are coming up. Today, we have gathered here to appreciate the special Olympians and felicitate them for the honour they have brought to our nation and our Tiranga. It has been a while since the Olympics took place, however it has always been our aim to not simply felicitate these Olympians with cheques and certificates, but to make an example out of them to inspire crores more throughout our nation. All these excellent Olympians being among us today has been truly inspiring for us, and I am grateful to them all for gracing us with their words and presence today. Everyone should feel encouraged and motivated seeing their achievements, and further work towards their goals.”

Talking about his journey, Paralympian Sharad Kumar said, “I thank the Delhi Government wholeheartedly. This feels like a due recognition I needed. This is a result of 15 years of hardwork and now there are many other para-athletes in line to become a success story and receive this honour. I am actually almost deceived by the Paralympics – almost 10 years and 10,000 hours have gone into getting where I am. However, please don’t lose hope, you’ll feel alone and feel like giving up. But that’s the time you realise that underneath it all is someone who will emerge with your performance. This has happened to me and I have seen that most athletes from Delhi have either left or given up the sport. However, I persisted and I stand here today and now the Delhi government has recognized it. This is a ray of hope for everyone else to follow their passion and I’m sure times are changing. You can see a para-athlete standing in front of you who is getting the post of assistant director. I thank the Chief Minister for fulfilling the promise which he had given to me long ago and I hope many athletes will come by such opportunities in future.”

At the same time, Bajrang Punia said, “I’m grateful to the Delhi Government for this excellent sports policy. I moved to Delhi in 2008, and I’ve been representing the state ever since. The Delhi Government’s policy to help players advance is simple and strong: work hard, and we’ll stand by you. I congratulate the Delhi Government for introducing such a wonderful policy for the sportspersons, because until our game improves, our country will not be able to earn such a distinguished reputation around the world. It is the athletes who take and hoist the Tiranga on the world stage. Thank you to the Chief Minister, the Deputy Chief Minister, and all of the other guests for honouring all the players, and my best wishes to the young budding sportspersons. All those who are here listening should also work hard, win medals for the country, and get recognised like us. Thank you everyone for your unwavering support and admiration for us.

Table-tennis Olympian, Manika Batra stated, “I want to thank the Delhi Government for this huge honour. All players strive for such motivation irrespective of how many medals they win. Such measures will motivate us to perform better for India. I am certain that the younger generation of Delhi is doing very well and has potential. I hope they are all nurtured well so we can all bring laurels for this country.”

While, Deepak Kumar said, “I want to thank the Delhi Government for the love and care they have showered on us. I know for a fact that the Chief Minister sees an Olympian in every aspirant. I want to tell all the young ones to dedicate themselves into this furnace of patience for you will turn out to be gold. I am sure if all of us show perseverance we will be able to lift the Tiranga high in our hands at the international stage and say with pride that we are those players who the Delhi Government supported and banked upon. I am sure we will all continue to make Delhi proud of us.”

Also present on the occasion was Olympic Silver Medallist Ravi Dahiya, who said, “Never have I ever seen an event where the players had arrived and our Chief Minister of Delhi was unable to attend. I sincerely appreciate their dedication to the athletes and the fact that they are always prepared to assist them. The CM promised me that I would get the job shortly the last time we met, and I can’t even describe how quickly things turned around and he fulfilled his promise.  I’d like to express my gratitude to the Delhi Government. When I meet with the Director of Sports or the Chief Minister, they always ask what they can do to help, and what they can do to improve their support. I wish for Delhi to earn a name not only in India but throughout the world. I am grateful to the Delhi Government for the progressive policies they have implemented and their support for sports.”

Profile of the sportspersons honoured today:

Bajrang Punia: Sport: Freestyle Wrestling
Bajrang started to skip school to go to wrestling practice at a young age. He went to Chattarsal Stadium in 2008 where he was trained by well qualified professionals from his budding age. Bajrang won Bronze for the second time at a World Championship, thereby qualifying India for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the 65 kg freestyle wrestling event. At the 2020 Summer Tokyo Olympics, Punia won a bronze medal by defeating Kazakhstan’s Daulet Niyazbekov with a wide 8-0 margin. Awards 2019- Major Dhyan chand Khel Ratna Award, highest sporting honour of India 2019- Padma Shri Award 2020- FICCI India Sports Award 2020

Sharad Kumar: Sports: Para-Athletics, High Jump (T-42)

Sharad is among those who managed his studies well with Sports and holds a M.A in Politics with specialisation in International Relations. Asian Games gold medalist 2014 & 2018 Sharad won a silver medal at World Para Athletics Championship, Dubai in 2015 & 2017. At the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, he clinched a bronze medal and brought laurels to the country. He is a recipient of the Arjuna Award, the second highest sporting honour of India.

*Manika Batra*: Sports: Table-Tennis

Manika Batra hails from Naraina Vihar in Delhi and began playing table tennis at the age of four. She studied at the Jesus and Mary College, New Delhi for a year before dropping out to concentrate on table tennis. Batra became the first Indian woman to bag a Commonwealth table tennis individual gold medal in CWG 2018 by beating Yu Mengyu of Singapore. An Asian Games Bronze Medalist, she has qualified for the Olympics twice. At the 2020 Summer Tokyo Olympics, Batra reached the third round of the women’s singles event, becoming the first Indian paddler to reach the third round at the Olympics in a singles event.

Deepak Kumar: Sport: Shooting

Deepak hails from Village Jagatpur, Delhi. He is currently serving as Junior Commissioned Officer in the Indian Air Force. He is an Asian Games 2018 Silver Medalist and Bronze Medalist at the 2018 ISSF World Cup in Guadalajara in the 10 metre air rifle mixed team event with Mehuli Ghosh. He participated in the Tokyo Olympics 2020 shooting event.

Shallaz Kumar: Coach of Sh. Sharad Kumar (Bronze Medalist at Tokyo Paralympics 2020)

Mentor to Sharad Kumar since his childhood he himself was a high jumper but had to quit sports due to an injury. Shallaz has been the backbone of Sharad and has provided emotional and mental support needed throughout his tournament. Moreover, his guidance helped Sharad alot in achieving the Bronze Medal for India.

Kejriwal government promoting sports infrastructure in Delhi

The Delhi government realised that the players also face problems regarding the infrastructure for the game. Therefore, the government is increasing the infrastructure of sports at a large scale. For this, a FIFA compliant ground has been built in Najafgarh. A huge sports complex has been built and air-conditioned wrestling grounds are also coming up. The development of such infrastructure is happening all over Delhi. The Delhi government has managed to develop several sports facilities in its schools including 4 stadiums, 9 sports complexes, 23 swimming pools. About 50 private academies have also been set up for promotion of sports in various schools of Delhi Government under PPP model. CM Arvind Kejriwal has called upon the youth of the whole country to come play in Delhi. The government says that this infrastructure is not only for Delhi, but for the whole country. Everyone can come here and train. The pride of Delhi will increase when the whole country gets medals.

Establishment of Sports University to nurture talented sportspersons

The Kejriwal government has established a sports university to produce talented players for the country. Till now players used to face difficulty in completing their degree while playing sports. The Delhi government has solved this problem through its Sports University. Now if a child wants to do wrestling, then he can take admission in the sports university. In the university, he will be given training in wrestling and he will get a degree in wrestling. This degree will be equivalent to the rest of the degrees and the child can take up the job using that. The objective behind the establishment of Sports University is to produce more sportspersons and to win more medals in the Olympics.

Kejriwal government is running many schemes to promote sports

The Kejriwal government is working at the grassroots level to nurture and promote the talent of the students from school education to participation in Olympic level sports. Many schemes are being run to promote sports talent. The ‘Play and Progress’ scheme has been started by the Directorate of Education and Sports. Under this, 2 to 3 lakh rupees are given as financial assistance to the players up to the age of 17 years. Similarly, under the Mission Excellence Scheme, financial assistance up to Rs. 16 lakh is given to outstanding sportspersons for performing well at international level. At the same time, under the cash incentive scheme, players of Delhi are provided cash incentives for winning medals in state, national and international tournaments i.e. Olympics, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.

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