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A Matter of Respect: Sushil Kumar Comes Out in Support of Athletes Miffed with Haryana Govt

Sushil Kumar in an exclusive to CNN-News18, said that the players who are unhappy with the Haryana government's new policy are rightly so.

News18 Sports

Updated:June 26, 2019, 1:03 PM IST
A Matter of Respect: Sushil Kumar Comes Out in Support of Athletes Miffed with Haryana Govt
Sushil Kumar in an exclusive to CNN-News18, said that the players who are unhappy with the Haryana government's new policy are rightly so.

New Delhi: Two-time Olympic medalist Sushil Kumar came out in support of athletes disapproving Haryana government's new policy of taking a cut from cash rewards athletes get for winning medals for India.

The new policy states, "In case a sportsperson wins more than one medal during a financial year, he/she will receive full award money for the highest medal and 50 per cent of the award money for the second and subsequent medals."

Sushil Kumar said that the main concern of the athletes is not money but rather 'respect'. The veteran wrestler argued that a sportsperson does what he/she does because they want to bring glory to the nation.

"A sports player does not get outraged or offended at any point because he is getting to represent his nation and he will always be proud of the fact. However, it is a matter of respect," Sushil told CNN-News18 exclusively.

"If money is transferred to your account, no one, not even the recipient might get to know of it. A player trains with an aim in mind, to win a medal, be it an Olympic medal or whatever, so that his friends, his family, other players and your sports ministers would stand alongside you, give you a platform, give you respect. The possibility of such a goal ensures that a player is never disheartened or outraged," Sushil added.

Sushil went onto highlight the current government's apathy towards athletes, saying that, "Earlier, the Hooda government had adopted a great policy in this regard. For instance, winners in the Commonwealth Games were facilitated in a big ceremony merely a week after their return. Haryana's policy in this respect was undoubtedly the best in the whole nation."

Sushil brought to notice the fact that the Haryana government had scrapped their state-level function to award sportsperson and decided to transfer the cash prize directly into their accounts.

"Playing for the nation is a great thing for any sports player and they have no qualms about it. And when one of your countrymen win medals for the nations, you feel a sense of pride. Holding a small ceremony to congratulate these players is no big deal," Sushil said.

The function, scheduled to be held in Panchkula, was planned to give away cash prizes worth Rs 90 crore to about 3,000 sports persons who have won medals in national and international competitions.

Sushil Kumar also quashed rumours that the government might be concerned about any embarrassment that may arise if the sports stars says something inappropriate.

"Has any player ever said the wrong thing? People who fear are those who think ... Oh something's gonna go wrong, I might do something wrong or whatever. In all such ceremonies that have occurred in the past, the player has always treated the award and the function with due respect, no matter how small of an event it might be," Sushil Kumar said.

Sports Minister of Haryana, Anij Vij, responded to Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat's tweet saying they have never disrespected sportspersons. " On the basis of sports policy prize money has been distributed. If there is some discrepancy they can speak to the department. We have never disrespected our sportspersons," he said.

Vinesh Phogat and Banjrang Punia had taken to social media to lash out against the policy. "Every time you try right here how to annoy players. I have not seen such an insulting Government of sportspersons in Haryana till today. I want to ask you how many players you have done to give you prize money and jobs till date," Phogat wrote on Twitter.

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