by sportswire4u.blogspot.com (Balbir)
CHANDIGARH, DEC 31
The Punjab Government has sanctioned Rs 53 lakh to be given as cash awards to outstanding sportspersons who have brought laurels to the country and the state by winning medals at international level in 2007-08 and 2008-09.
Disclosing this here today, Punjab Sports Director Pargat Singh said that the amount would be disbursed among the medal winners at a function to be organized soon. Punjab sportspersons have won six gold, three silver and five bronze medals in the recognized international sports competitions in 2007-08. The Punjab sportspersons bagged two gold, three silver and five bronze medals at international level competitions in 2008-2009.
Giving cash awards is a part of the state sports policy to encourage the sportspersons to achieve excellence in their respective sports discipline.
The state government also confer Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award, the highest state sports award, to outstanding Punjab sportspersons for achieving podium finish in international meets. The award carries a purse of Rs 1 lakh, a scroll and a statue of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. So far 237 sportspersons have been decorated with this award. The government is finalizing the list of candidates who have applied for the award for the year 2005-09. The eligible players will be honoured soon.
It was the honour to India and Punjab as hockey forward Prabhjot Singh of Punjab has been named in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) All Star hockey team. With Indian hockey standard going down, it becomes a rare honour for a Punjab star to be named in the FIH All Star team.
Olympian Pargat Singh said that the department had implemented the Panchayati Yuva Krida Aur Khel Abhiyan (PYKKA) scheme in collaboration with the Government of India for creation of sports infrastructure at village and block level. In 2008-09, 1233 villages and 14 blocks have been covered. Same number of villages and blocks would be covered during 2009-10.
Sports wings are the feeding centre for state as well as national sports pool. The Punjab Government admitted 3000 budding players into 250 sports wings in schools and colleges in 2008-09. The amount for sports wings was Rs 250 lakh. This amount has been raised to Rs 500 lakh for 3500 sports wings trainees in 2009-10.
With a view to providing competitions to the players, the sports department organized competitions at block and district level. The Punjab State Rural Games for girls was conducted at Talwandi Sabo and for boys at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar. The Punjab State Women Games were organized at Ludhiana. More than 1,26,000 players took part in these games. All participants were provided sports kit, diet, free accommodation and transports facilities. For the first time, the winners in boys and girls rural games were given cash award of Rsd 5.75 lakh and the winners of the Women Games were given cash incentives of Rs 5 lakh for the first time.
The Punjab Government is providing free sports equipment for use in sports wings and coaching camps. Punjab Deputy Chief Minister-cum-Sports Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal distributed sports equipment worth Rs one crore to players on November 16 in Ludhiana. The sports academies, namely Olympian Surjit Hockey Academy, Football Academy, Mahilpur and Speed Fund Academy, are giving encouraging results. It may be recalled that Amrit Pal Singh of Speed Fund Academy had erased 30—year old record of long jumper TC Yohanan set in 1974, in 2004.
Besides relaying the Astroturf at the Olympian Surjit Hockey Academy in Jalandhar, the Sports Department has laid six-a-side synthetic turfs at five places, including one at Sansarpur, once considered at nursery of Indian hockey.
Pargat Singh summed up the year 2009 as rewarding. However, he thinks there is always a scope for improvement and department is striving hard to make Punjab a super sports power.