(Eds: Adding IOA President Narinder Batra’s reaction) Chandigarh, Jan 5 (PTI) Haryana sports minister Anil Vij Saturday demanded an apology from international shooter Manu Bhaker, disapproving the “manner” in which she expressed her displeasure at not receiving the promised cash reward of Rs 2 crore for winning a gold at 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires.
Bhaker, however, got support from none other than Indian Olympic Association President Narinder Batra who asked Vij to stop “intimidating and threatening” the shooter.
The 16-year-old Bhaker, who won multiple gold in her maiden senior World Cup, Commonwealth Games, besides the top prize at the Youth Olympics last October, on Friday reminded the Haryana sports minister of the promises made after her Youth Olympic success.
Bhaker had posted screen shots of Vij’s tweets on her twitter handle, in which he had promised her cash award to the tune of Rs 2 crore on behalf of the state government.
Reacting to the tweets, Vij said: “She should have first spoken to the sports department rather than airing her issue in public domain.
“The language she used in her tweet is aimed at tarnishing the image of the state and it is in bad taste.” Vij sought an apology from Bhaker, saying as per the policy of the government the prize money of this year’s award winner is given the next year.
“The government has given all pending prize money to sportsmen in August 2018…for those who are left out a plan is under way and they too will be given the prize money,” he said.
Batra, however, said it’s Vij who should apologise to Bhaker and not the other way round.
“Haryana Government, request please pay up to the athlete what your minister Anil Vij announced on social media,” Batra wrote on his Facebook page.
“Mr Anil Vij Hon’ble Sports Minister Government of Haryana, request please stop intimidating and threatening the Athlete to apologise for your publicity seeking jumla politics, it is you (Anil Vij) who should apologise from the Athlete for the mess you have made,” he wrote.
The IOA chief asked the Haryana sports minister to “learn something from the Ministry of Sports Government of India, who give the awards within two day of return of Athletes from the events”.
“This is what Commitment and Good Governance means. Thank you Government of India,” Batra said.
“Mr Anil Vij, be a man and Honor the Commitment Haryana Government made thru you as their Sports Minister and please stop intimidating the Athlete.” Bhaker on Friday had tweeted.
“Sir Please confirm if it is correct… Or just Jumla (sic),” Bhaker had written on Twitter.
“Someone in Haryana is really playing with Youth Olympic games prize!!!!!.” The Haryana sport minister said that it is disgusting to denounce a state government which is giving highest awards in the country.
“There should be some sense of decipline (sic) in players. Bhaker should feel sorry for creating this controversy. She has a long way to go. She should focus on her game only,” Vij tweeted.
After Bhaker won the gold medal at the Youth Olympics in October last year, Vij had tweeted: “Congratulations to Manu Bhaker for winning shooting gold in Youth Olympics. Haryana government will give a cash prize of Rs 2 crore to Manu Bhaker on her achievement. Previous governments used to pay Rs 10 lakh.” Bhaker had won the Youth Olympics gold in the 10m air pistol event in Buenos Aires on October 10.
The medal was a huge morale booster for the teenage shooter, who had missed medals in the 25m pistol and 10m air pistol events at the Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang. She had shot 236.5 in the eight-woman final to create history.
Bhaker had a phenomenal year in 2018 as she won the Commonwealth Games gold medal in Gold Coast, a month after winning gold in the 10m air pistol individual and team events at the ISSF World Cup in Guadalajara.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.