Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday announced a five time increase in prize money for gold medal winners at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Times of India reports that the state government’s cash reward is now Rs 5 crore for a gold medal. Earlier it was Rs 1 crore. A silver will now fetch Rs 3 crore (earlier - Rs 50 lakh), while a bronze will get Rs 2 crore (earlier - 25 lakh).
The increase in cash incentives was made after the Karnataka Olympic Association reportedly requested the government to double the cash awards.
“We decided to make a five-fold increase. It is the government’s responsibility to provide financial support and encourage our athletes. I hope the hike will further motivate them to do well. We have always been underachievers at the Olympics. Many of our athletes qualify for the event which in itself is a huge achievement. But we should not be satisfied with just participation, we should aim at winning medals and make the country and the state proud,” the Chief Minister was quoted by TOI.
With the hike in rewards, the state is now in par with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh in offering incentives to medal winners. Before the 2016 Rio Olympics, Haryana and UP had revised the cash incentives to Rs 6 crore for a gold, Rs 4 crore for a silver and Rs 2 crore for a bronze. Gujarat offers Rs 5 crore, Rs 3 crore and Rs 2 crore for gold, silver and bronze respectively at the Olympics.
The Chief Minister promised to provide more funding for sports in the upcoming budget and said that the medal winners at the 2015 National Games held in Kerala would soon be rewarded with rupees five lakh, three lakh and two lakh for gold, silver and bronze winners.
Apart from the hike in incentives for Olympic medal winners, the CM also announced that six of the 32 DYES sports hostels will be upgraded to academies that will have Sports Science, Sports Psychology and Bio-mechanics Centres.
According to the report, a database of top 1000 sportspersons from all disciplines is to be created and their progress monitored. So far, DYES has collected data of 662 athletes. A proposal to reward private institutions that promote sports and sportspersons in the state is also being considered.