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Odisha Govt announces special cash award of Rs. 60 lakh for Rio 2016 qualifiers
Giving a boost to sports in the State, the Odisha government has awarded Rs.60 lakh for six sportswomen who qualified for Rio Olympics.

"Odisha government has decided to double the amount of cash prize for sportspersons from the State in the international events like Olympics," said a press release issued by the Chief Minister's office.

"Any sportsperson of the State winning a gold medal in such competitions would be given a cash award of Rs 1 crore while silver and bronze medalists would be given Rs 60 lakh and Rs 40 lakh respectively," the release added.

The players who would be getting the award are sprinter Dutee Chand representing India in 100-metre and sprinter Srabani Nanda in 200-metre women's events, and four hockey players Lilima Minz, Deep Grace Ekka, Sunita Lakra and Namita Toppo.

"The special cash award will help them prepare better for the Games. I wish all six players the best and may they return with flying colours," said Odhisa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

The Cheif Minister has ordered Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) to transfer the award money into the accounts of the players. Dutee belongs to a poor family from Gopalpur village in Jajpur, while Srabani comes from Kandhamal district which is dominated by tribal people. Four hockey players belong to Sundargarh, which is tribal as well.

The State government has doubled the awards from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh and also that the Olympians participating in individual events will get 1 lakh each.

"I hope that the six sportswomen will come out with flying colours and bring glory for their state as well as for the country," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said after announcing the special incentives.

Sports and Youth Affairs Minister, Sudam Marandi said, "We feel that sports personalities from the State would be encouraged by the new cash prize announced by the government."

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