It has been decided that during the Olympic years, anyone winning a medal will automatically be conferred with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award. Sakshi has not yet got the Arjuna Award, but the policy decision by the government will ensure that she is directly considered for the Khel Ratna.
Gymnast Dipa Karmakar, who narrowly missed the bronze medal in Rio and shooter Jitu Rai, who was one of the two shooters to have made it to the final, are the other two who have been recommended for the prestigious award.
Also, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday announced that the Rani Laxmi Bai award will be given to wrestler Sakshi Malik for her winning feat at the Rio Olympics. “We congratulate Sakshi for winning the medal in the Rio Olympics. Our government will give Rani Lakshmi award to her,” he said at a programme at his residence here.
The award comprises a bronze statue of Rani Laxmi Bai, a scroll and a cash reward of Rs 3.11 lakh and is given to meritorious sportspersons who excel at national/international level. The Haryana girl is also set to get promoted as a gazetted railway officer.
Before the start of the Olympics, Sakshi’s state government of Haryana had announced Rs 6 crore for Olympics gold medallist, Rs 4 crore for silver and Rs 2.5 crore for bronze winners. Sakshi is also entitled to Rs 20 lakh earmarked for an Olympic bronze medallist under the Sports Ministry’s Special Awards Scheme.
The Railway Ministry, the employers of Sakshi, will give Rs 60 lakh to her. It had announced handsome cash awards of Rs 1 cr, Rs 75 lakh and Rs 50 lakh to gold, silver and bronze medal winners and a further Rs 10 lakh for qualifying in the Olympics.
For the first time, Indian Olympics Association had also announced that it would award Rs 50 lakh to a gold medal winner, Rs 30 lakh for a silver winner and Rs 20 lakh for a bronze medalist.
In addition, the IOA had said that the coaches would be awarded an equivalent of 50 per cent of the amount that the athletes receive. Besides this, Bollywood superstar Salman Khan, who is also a goodwill ambassador of the Indian contingent at the Rio Games, has also promised a cheque of Rs 1,01,000 for all the athletes who took part in the Olympics.
Sakshi on Wednesday night ended the country’s medal drought at the Olympic Games by clinching the bronze medal in the 58kg category, pulling off a sensational 8-5 victory over her rival in the play-off bout. The 23-year-old wrestler also became only the fourth woman athlete from India to win an Olympic medal. Her bronze is the first medal by an Indian woman wrestler and fifth overall for the country in the sport in Olympics.
‘Double leg attack’ is the strongest point of international wrestler Sakshi Malik feels her coach Ishwar Singh Dahiya. Dahiya, who first trained Sakshi, on Thursday was ecstatic over the historic achievement of the Rohtak girl, saying she made Haryana and country proud by clinching a medal.
He still remembers when Sakshi along with her mother came to him for training in wrestling in the year 2004 at Chhotu Ram Stadium Wrestling Academy in Rohtak despite opposition by some local people.