Raksha Mantri announces cash prizes to Armed Forces personnel for winning medals at 19th Asian Games

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh, on October 17, 2023, felicitated medal winners, participants and support staff from the Armed Forces, who took part in the recently concluded 19th Asian Games at Hangzhou, China. The Raksha Mantri interacted with a total of 76 players and staff, who attended the event in New Delhi, and congratulated them for their excellent display at the Games.


On behalf of Ministry of Defence, Shri Rajnath Singh announced cash prizes to the Armed Forces personnel, who brought laurels to the country by bagging 28 medals at the Games, and once again proving their mettle at an international event. Each Gold medal winner will be given Rs 25 lakh; each Silver Medal winner will get Rs 15 lakh and each Bronze medal winner will be awarded Rs 10 lakh.


The Indian Army bagged 20 medals – three Gold, seven Silver and 10 Bronze. The Indian Navy clinched five medals – three Gold, one Silver and one Bronze. The Indian Air Force secured three medals – two Gold and one Silver. A contingent of 88 soldiers had participated in 18 disciplines at the Asian Games, which were held from September 23 to October 08, 2023.


In his address, the Raksha Mantri lauded the efforts of the players, including those who gave their best, but could not win the medals. He reminded them of Flying Sikh Milkha Singh, who missed a medal in 400-meter race in 1960 Olympics in Rome by a whisker, but became a guiding star of Indian athletics. Milkha Singh is an inspiration for all even today, he said.


Shri Rajnath Singh exuded confidence that these medals and performances will inspire the country’s youth to come forward in sports. “You are not just representing a medal, but are also representing a narrative of excellence of Indian society. You are a great medium to provide inspiration to the youth,” he told the players.


The Raksha Mantri commended the Armed Forces personnel for always being among the medal winners at different Games. “Be it a battlefield or a playground, a soldier always performs because of dedication, discipline, hard work and the desire to do something for the nation. These virtues help in bringing medals for us in sports. Within a soldier, there is a player; within a player, there is a soldier,” he said.


Shri Rajnath Singh also pointed out that the performances of the players were a reflection of a rapidly growing and powerful ‘New India’. “Many studies show that the progress in sports of any nation is more or less proportional to the economic prosperity of that country. In this context, as India is becoming an economically strong nation, our medals are also increasing in every field,” he said.


The Raksha Mantri emphasised that, under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, India is witnessing growth in every field such as defence, infrastructure, health and education. “Be it the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund, India’s development journey is being discussed everywhere. Recently, American financial company JP Morgan Chase released ‘Government Bond Index – Emerging Markets’ which guides investors. It has included India for the first time. It is the result of our growing economic strength. Now, there is an ambition to become the best; vision to create the best and action to take the country to greater heights. The world is today recognising India’s growth story,” he stated.


Shri Rajnath Singh asserted that the government is making relentless efforts to develop sports culture in India. “On one hand, we have worked to increase awareness about sports among the youth through Fit India and Khelo India campaigns; on the other, through the Target Olympic Podium Scheme, we are committed to increasing India’s medal count in the Olympics. Today, our country is taking steps to host the Olympic Games in 2036. I am confident that with the support of the Government, our athletes will take India to the top of the medals tally through their hard work, dedication and passion,” he said.


The felicitation ceremony was attended by Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Pande, Vice Chief of the Naval Staff Vice Admiral Sanjay Jasjit Singh and senior officers of Sports Control Board of respective services.