Punjab Sports and Youth Services Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi today announced that around twenty four hundred sportspersons, who were deprived of prize money during the tenure of the previous government, would be given cash prizes within next two months. And, the winners of national and international acclaim, who brought laurels between the year 2017 to till date will also be accorded with cash prizes.During a high level meeting with top brass of the Sports department and District Sports Officers of the state here, Rana Sodhi asked the officials to prepare lists for distribution of prizes in phased manner. The Cabinet Minister said that the department has enough funds for the distribution of prize money to the beneficiaries, including 2339 national and international level sportspersons from the year 2007 to 2015 and the process to distribute cash prizes to these players will be initiated soon.Directing the District Sports Officers to ensure strict adherence to the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of the Union Health Ministry, Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Punjab Health Department regarding the resumption of sports activities in the state, Rana Sodhi said that RT-PCR tests are mandatory for players and thermal scanning must be arranged at stadium entrances. In addition to this, the training program should be conducted in a staggered manner instead of the presence of all the players at the same time. He said that disinfection of stadiums should be ensured after every training session. “The District Sports Officers will be responsible for implementation of these Standard Operating Procedures”, he added.
The Sports Minister asked all the District Sports Officers, if any sportsperson desirous to participate in international level competitions and need financial help, he could contact concerned District Sports Officer for monetary and logistic support, adding that the department strives to ensure that no talented player is deprived of participating in competitions sans financial or sports equipment.Rana Sodhi categorically emphasized that in every stadium, life-size pictures of great players displaying their sports achievements would be exhibited in every stadium to encourage and motivate the budding players. In addition, booklets exhibiting salient features of the Punjab Sports Policy such as cash prizes, reservation for sportspersons in government jobs and Maharaja Ranjit Singh Awards etc. would be disbursed in schools to motivate the youth towards sports.During the meeting, Principal Secretary Sports Mr. K. Siva Prasad and Director Sports Mr. D.P.S. Kharbanda explained in detail about the criteria set by the sports department for resuming training activities and listened to the problems being faced by the DSOs. They said, consent letter should be obtained from the players or their parents pertaining to the participation in the training sessions and asked to ensure the 'Arogya Setu' app in players’ mobile phones to keep them protected from COVID-19.Joint Secretary Sports Council Mr. Kartar Singh and all the District sports officers were present during the meeting.