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Fans welcome CWG winners at RGIA, SAAP officials absent

Sat 16th Oct 2010 08:53 AM
Fans welcome CWG winners at RGIA, SAAP officials absent
Fans welcome CWG winners at RGIA, SAAP officials absent

The absence of officials from the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport to welcome medal winners at the Commonwealth Games back home on Saturday spoke volumes about their dedication to promote sports and sportspersons.

Gold Medalists Saina Nehwal, Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa arrived here on Saturday to be received by the crew of a private television channel and their fans but no officials. This, despite the fact that the Hyderabadi players had played a vital role in ensuring that the country harvest its best ever tally of medals to be at the second spot.

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The welcome, or lack of it, was disappointing to say the least. But the athletes’ joy was certainly not going to be dampened by the shoddy treatment meted out to them by the authorities, since the boisterous fans more than made up for their absence.

Parupalli Kashyap, the bronze medallist in men's singles and India's chief coach Pullela Gopichand, also arrived with Saina and others.

Saina, Jwala and Kashyap are from Andhra Pradesh while Ashwini, who partnered with Jwala to win the gold in women's doubles, hails from Karnataka.

'It was a fantastic feeling. I can never forget it,' said Saina on her gold medal winning performance in women's singles. The world number three termed the final which saw India edge out England in the Gold Medals tally, as ‘the toughest match of my career.’

The crowd favourite and the toast of the country attributed her win to the support of her parents, coach and the crowd, who helped her to perform well. She warned her future opponents that she would now be preparing for the next month's Asian Games in China.

Her coach and mentor Gopichand exulted with joy at the country’s best ever performance in badminton which saw India bagging two Golds, one Silver and a Bronze.

Jwala Gutta pointed out her disappointment in not only the treatment meted out to the winners, but also said that the sports authority had even failed to greet her on her win.

The state government, on its part, announced cash prizes of Rs 10 lakh, Rs 7.5 lakh and Rs 5 lakh to Gold, Silver and Bronze medal winners respectively.

Sportspersons from the state bagged six golds, eight silvers and five bronzes, with Gagan Narang winning four Golds in shooting, along with Saina and Jwala for badminton. Silver medals went to Sania Mirza for tennis, Asher Noria for shooting, Ritul Chatterjee and Ch Jignas for archery.

The Bronze medal winners were Abdul Najeeb and S Geetha men's and women's 4x100 metres relay respectively while lifter Srinivasa Rao bagged the other bronze.