" --Indo-Asian News service"
Chennai, Dec 19 - The Indian Olympic Association (IOA), following its Annual General Meeting (AGM) here Friday, announced cash awards for the medallists in the recent Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Asian Beach Games.

Also, the National Sports Federations and State Olympic Associations will receive special funding from the IOA in view of the decreasing grants to these bodies from the Union government.

Briefing the media at the end of the Executive Council meeting and the AGM which was attended by Haider Farman of the Olympic Council of Asia, as the observer, IOA president N. Ramachandran said he had received the necessary permission from the Executive Committee and the General Body to seek sponsorship for IOA and national sports federation.

Before my turn ends in the IOA, I assure you we will be financially sound and independent of the government of India financially, Ramachandran said.

As for the financial rewards for the athletes, each gold winner will receive Rs.3 lakh, silver Rs.2 lakh and bronze Rs.1 lakh.

Also the IOA would provide annual grant of Rs.3 lakh for each National Sports Federation and State Olympic Association, he said.

It was decided to honour Vijay Kumar Malhotra for his contribution to the Olympic movement in India by making him life president of IOA.

Also, the IOA congratulated Raja Randhir Singh for becoming an honorary member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and being conferred with the silver order of merit by the world Olympic body recently.

Ramachandran said Kerala will host the National Games next month as scheduled and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the event.

Ninety-nine per cent work on the infrastructure has been completed, he said, while adding that Goa, Chattisgarh and Uttarakhand will be the hosts in that order for the Games thereafter.

Ramachandran said JSW of the Jindal Group and Sports Mechanics had come forward to sponsor the Indian athletes at the international level.

The IOA president also announced that India will host the next South Asian Games (SAF) next December in the North East.

Ramachandran said he was happy that boxer Saritha Devi's ban was only for one year, thanks to the efforts of both IOA and the Indian government and she can participate in the qualification phase for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

On the question of IOA recognising Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) and the International Boxing Association (AIBA) pitching for Boxing India (BI), he said when BI conducted the elections at the instance of AIBA, none from the IOA or Indian government was invited as observer.

We cannot compromise IOA's constitutional conditions, he said, while stating IABF was IOA's officially recognized boxing body.

Similarly, with Hockey India's problem with the foreign coach, Ramachandran said IOA respected national federations' autonomy and would not like to interfere.

On the question of confusion about Indian contingent's size on the eve of the departure to the Incheon Asian Games earlier this year, Ramachandran said: IOA had made its recommendation and the government had a right to decide whether X should go or Y. We can do nothing about it.

--Indo-Asian News service

aph/pur/dg


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