Winning a medal in multi-discipline events such as the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and the Olympics results in a financial windfall for Indian athletes as the Centre, their respective states and even corporate houses shower cash prizes on these sportspersons.
While the Union government gives Rs 30 lakh for gold, Rs 20 lakh for silver and Rs 10 lakh for bronze medal winners, some state associations have chosen to ride the publicity bandwagon and announce special cash prizes that are not really part of their policy.
This has led to a disparity in cash awards given to the athletes. Take for example the case of Swapna Barman. The first Indian heptathlete to win a gold medal in the Asian Games was given a cash award of Rs 10 lakh by the West Bengal government, while even a bronze medallist in Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Maharashtra would earn more than her.
On the other hand, a state like Andhra Pradesh, which started announcing cash awards over a decade ago to athletes for winning medals at the National Games and international tournaments, is yet to announce any such rewards this time around.
Here is a chart showing the discrepancy in the cash payout in the 21 states that contributed to India’s record medal tally in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.
Corrections and clarifications: A previous version of this chart had a typographic error for Hima Das’ reward from Assam state government. It’s been fixed in the new chart. The figures for Kerala have been added as well.