New Delhi, Aug 28: While the entire nation went gaga over shuttler PV Sindhu's historic gold medal at the BWF Badminton World Championships in Basel, Switzerland on Sunday (August 25), India's Para-Badminton players' rich haul of medals was largely overlooked.
The Para-Badminton players also participated in the same event and returned with 12 medals from the tournament. Sindhu has been garnering all the limelight but there were hardly any takers for the para-badminton champs, who also deserved similar appreciation.
India won three golds in the tournament and fell short of their best-ever show at the tournament in 2015 when the country bagged the same number of overall medals, of which four Para-Badminton players clinched the yellow metal.
Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted and congratulated Sindhu in person upon her return from Switzerland but there wasn't any congratulatory message from his side for the para-athletes.
It was only after a medal winner at BWF Para-Badminton World Championships, Sukant Kadam, asked the PM to meet the 12 para-medallists, the Prime Minister took to his Twitter handle to congratulate the contingent.
"Honorable @narendramodi sir, we Para-Badminton Athletes also won 12 medals in Para-Badminton World Championship and we also want your blessings. Request you to allow us to meet as we missed a chance after Asian Games," Sukant wrote.
We still are waiting for @narendramodi sir response. I missed the opportunity after Asian Para Games as I was went to Denmark tournament. I won Denmark tournament but missed chance to meet you. #ParaBadminton #TeamIndia@PramodBhagat83 @PMOIndia @Media_SAI https://t.co/8f1DXee2EM— Sukant Kadam (@sukant9993) August 28, 2019
A day after Sukant's tweet, the Prime Minister tweeted, "130 crore Indians are extremely proud of the Indian Para-Badminton contingent, which has brought home 12 medals at BWF World Championships 2019. Congratulations to the entire team, whose success is extremely gladdening and motivating. Each of these players is remarkable!"
130 crore Indians are extremely proud of the Indian Para Badminton contingent, which has brought home 12 medals at BWF World Championships 2019.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 28, 2019
Congratulations to the entire team, whose success is extremely gladdening and motivating. Each of these players is remarkable!
Sukant later tweeted that they are still waiting to hear from the Prime Minister's office.
He tweeted on Wednesday, "We still are waiting for @narendramodi sir response. I missed the opportunity after Asian Para Games as I went to Denmark tournament. I won Denmark tournament but missed chance to meet you. #ParaBadminton #TeamIndia
However, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju lauded the Para-Badminton medallists. The Sports Minister met with the contingent upon their arrival from Basel and congratulated them personally. He has also amended the policy for para-athletes to make them eligible for more cash awards.
My happiness knows no bounds and it's beyond words as I felicitated our Para-Badminton player on winning 12 Medals at World Championship. A major decision is taken by Sports Ministry today. We will award handsome cash money to the players at the time of arrival itself. pic.twitter.com/P18LawSiRf— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) August 27, 2019
A cash reward of Rs 18.2 crore was handed over to the medallists of Para-Badminton World Championship on Tuesday (August 27).
They are the stars of India✌ Let's salute our Para-Badminton players who brought laurels for India. Today, Sports Ministry took a decision to handover the cash money to every player at the time of arrival itself which would amount upto 20 lakhs per athlete. pic.twitter.com/kBFNTerNbD— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) August 27, 2019
As per the new guidelines, medal winners in world events and world championships which are organised by the International Paralympic Committee, or by a respective International Sports Federation that is recognised by the International Olympic Committee, will be eligible for cash awards from the government.