The recently concluded Commonwealth Games have thrown up some interesting statistics. Did you know that of the 218 athletes from the Indian contingent, 28 were from Haryana? Or that the Haryanvi athletes won 22 medals out of India’s total of 66? This should come as no surprise since the Haryanvis are known for their hard work and physical strength. We decode the phenomenon and tell you why Haryana leads the way in nurturing sports and sportspersons.
Haryana is one of the states that consistently churns out top sportspersons. The state government’s investment in sports infrastructure has paid off rich dividends. According to the Haryana Sports Ministry, 440 sports nurseries have been set up in 22 districts. The foundation for a state-of-the-art stadium in Ambala costing Rs 48.57 crore has been spent.
The state prides itself in not only identifying talent but also promoting sports. The state government also has a longstanding tradition of rewarding athletes and medallists with jobs in the public sector. Another policy that it promotes —padak lao pad pao(win a medal, get a job) drives youngsters towards sports.
Sportspersons who represent India at international sporting events are also given cash rewards. Gold medallists in the Commonwealth Games will be awarded Rs 1.5 crore while the silver and bronze winners are getting Rs 75 lakh and Rs 50 lakh each. Olympic medal winners receive between Rs 2.5 – 6 crore, depending on their medal. Haryana is also the first state to reward its Para-Olympians with cash benefits. The state government recently hiked the reward money for its athletes to encourage participation in sports.
Youngsters in the state have a long line of sporting heroes and icons to look up to. From former cricket captain Kapil Dev to boxing sensation Vijendra Singh, these stars have influenced a generation. The Phogat sisters and badminton star Saina Nehwal have also brought glory to their respective sports. Athletes are shining in disciplines that are not traditionally the state’s strong suit. Case in point is the emergence of shooter Manu Bhaker and javelinist Neeraj Chopra at the Commonwealth Games.