At the Olympics beginning later this month in Tokyo, India is likely to have a strong medal showing during the wrestling competitions featuring Bajrang Punia and archer Atanu Das among the world’s best. Despite this, if Bajrang wins gold, he will receive Rs 6 crore from his state, while Das will receive just Rs 25 lakh.
Olympic medals in India are valued differently according to where the medalist hails from. Among the cash awards announced by Haryana, Bajrang’s home state, cash awards are amounting to Rs 6 crore (gold) and Rs 2.5 crore (bronze), while West Bengal’s awards will range from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 10 lakh. Also offering six crores for gold are the UP, Odisha, and a Chandigarh administration; followed by Karnataka and Gujarat with five crores each.
Those awards are separate from the central government awards to Olympic medal winners of Rs 75 lakh (gold), Rs 50 lakh (silver), and Rs 30 lakh (bronze).
Speaking to The Indian Express, Manoj Tiwary, former cricketer and West Bengal’s new Minister of State for Affairs of Sports and Youth, said: “As per the 2018 order of the West Bengal government, for the Olympic Games, prize money for a gold medallist is Rs 25 lakh. For a silver medallist, the prize money announced was Rs 15 lakh, while a bronze medallist gets Rs 10 lakh. From West Bengal, three sportspersons are going to the Olympics this year, and we will do what needs to be done for their encouragement.”
In response to West Bengal’s offer, two-time Asian Games gold medallist and former athlete Jyotirmoyee Sikdar says it is “too less”. On par with Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh is sending eight athletes to Tokyo.