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Rewards galore pour in for the champion
August 11, 2008 18:20 IST
Cash rewards to the tune of Rs 1.66 crore and other goodies were showered on India's first Olympic individual gold medallist Abhinav Bindra [Images], whose historic feat at the shooting range in Beijing [Images] sparked street celebrations across the country.
The Chandigarh marksman, who clinched the gold in 10m air rifle event, will be given Rs one crore by the Punjab government.
Among other goodies, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad announced a free lifetime pass for travel by AC first class for the shooter.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India, the game's richest body in the world, announced a reward of Rs 25 lakh for Bindra, whom it had adopted as part of its efforts to encourage other sports in a cricket-mad country.
The Haryana government pitched in with Rs 25 lakh and the Chandigarh Administration rewarded him with Rs five lakh.
Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh announced a cash prize of Rs 10 lakh and his Madhya Pradesh [Images] counterpart Shivraj Singh Chouhan came up with a reward of Rs five lakh for his "golden performance".
Not to be left behind, Chattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh announced Rs one lakh.
Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana Parkash Singh Badal and Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Administrator of Chandigarh S F Rodrigues, who is also the Governor of Punjab, also sent separate messages congratulating Bindra, his father A S Bindra and those associated with the shooter.
Celebrations started at his home in Chandigarh and his parents were flooded with congratulatory messages and phone calls since morning.
"We have been busy handling the phone calls, receiving fans and well-wishers and handling the media," his father Dr A S Bindra said.
People came out on streets to celebrate the shooter's feat, terming it as a proud moment for the country.
As the news of Bindra bagging the country's first ever individual gold in the Olympics [Images] came in, people all over the country shared the joy and basked in the moment of glory.
"I screamed with joy as soon as I saw the SMS, unmindful of the fact that I was travelling in a packed compartment in the suburban train," S Sriram, a software professional, said.
"As those around stared at me strangely, I broke the news to them and saw a lot of smiles in the compartment," he said.
Vasudevan Baskaran, who led India to its last Olympic gold medal in hockey, in the 1980 Moscow [Images] Games, described Bindra's feat as better than his team's effort 28 years ago.
"I saw it live when he won the medal. It was a thrilling win. When the medal ceremony was on and the Indian flag was up, I felt that Bindra's gold medal is better than my team's Moscow Olympic gold medal," Baskaran said.
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