CHANDIGARH, JUNE 20:The Punjab Government will be soon announcing the date of conferring the highest state sports honour to eligible sportspersons with Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award for year 2005, 2006 and 2007.
The screening committee, approved by Punjab Sports Minister Gulzar Singh Ranike, met here recently to discuss modalities for selection of the players. It is learnt that the Sports Minister has included sarpanches, without any sports background, in the screening committee.
Outstanding sportspersons in 26 Olympic disciplines and one cricketer would be shortlisted from the applications received for the prestigious Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award which was revived after a gap of 10 years in 2006.
The number of recipients was also raised fom 15 per year to 27 and the cash award to Rs one lakh each from Rs 20,000. In July 2006, 124 brilliant sportspersons of Punjab were presented the highest state sports honour from 1997 to 2004. A cheque for Rs 1 lakh, a trophy of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and citation, besides a blazer and a tie are given to each recipient of the award.
The screening committee this year will be soon inviting applications for the highest state sports award while the State Government has sanctioned the required amount to be disbursed among the recipients of the awards. Confirming this, a spokesman of the Punjab Sports Department said that the "Maharaja Ranjit Singh award case is under active consideration of the Government."
PUNJAB TO FIELD STRONG TEAM: Meanwhile, Punjab has started preparing for participation in the inaugural National Youth Games to be organised in Bangalore from July 22 to 29. The Punjab Olympic Association has directed its affiliated units to organise two camps to prepare the teams in athletics, archery, swimming, badminton, boxing, cycling, equestrian, fencing, football, gymnastics, handball, hockey, judo, kabaddi, kho-kho, shooting, table tennis, teakwondo, tennis triathlon, volleyball, weightlifting and wrestling.
A POA spokesman said that the Punjab Gymnastic Association and the Punjab Equestrian Association have already selected their teams for coaching camps. According to instructions given by the POA, the concerned state sports associations would conduct first coaching camp of 15 days and the second for a week. The gymnastic association has announced to organise first camp for 25 selected gymnasts from June 21 to July 5 and the second from July 8 to 17.
The POA has requested the Punjab Sports Department and the Punjab State Sports Council to provide them technical assistance for holing the coaching camps and financial grant of Rs 35 lakh for preparing and sending the Punjab contingent for the National Youth Games.
A Punjab Sports Department spokesman said that the department would depute the coaches on the request of the Punjab Olympic Association to train the players in coaching camps. The required fund would also be released to felicitate the POA to organise coaching camps and sending the strong contingent to Bangalore.