India’s men’s hockey midfielder from Bhopal, Vivek Sagar Prasad, who is one of the key players in the national team that won a bronze in the Tokyo Olympics, was greeted with a big celebration by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Mr Prasad, 21, has also been appointed Deputy Superintendent of Police in Madhya Pradesh. He said he wants to change the medal’s colour to gold next time. “My teammates often gave compliments that our state has a Chief Minister who works proactively for sports,” Mr Prasad said.
The state government has announced Rs 1 crore each for the two midfielders from the state; the other is Nilakanta Sharma.
“We have many more records to break,” the Chief Minister told Mr Prasad. “The Tokyo Olympics has laid the foundation for revival of Indian hockey. Now it’s our duty to work for return of Indian hockey’s golden era. We will do whatever is possible to further that dream,” Mr Chouhan said.
The state government will build a house for Mr Prasad, after his mother Kamala Devi requested for one, Mr Chouhan said.
Earlier in the day, Mr Prasad was welcomed at Bhopal airport by state Sports Minister Yashodhra Raje Scindia.
The Chief Minister said every player of the women’s hockey team will be honoured with Rs 31 lakh. The Chief Minister announced a reward of Rs 25 lakh for former Team India incisive striker and assistant coach of the Olympics hockey team Shivendra Singh. The Gwalior resident is now tipped to be the Madhya Pradesh Women’s Hockey Academy’s next chief coach.
Other states like Haryana and Punjab have already announced cash rewards for Olympic players from their states.
India defeated Germany 5-4 in the bronze medal match at the Tokyo Olympics, bringing to an end a 41-year wait for an Olympics medal in hockey.
Ten of the 18-man squad – including double goal-scorer Simranjeet Singh – are from Punjab.