BHUBANESWAR: Odisha’s golden boy and champion para shuttler Pramod Bhagat was accorded a grand welcome before being felicitated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik with a cash award of Rs 6 crore at Kalinga Stadium here on Friday, September 10, 2021.
Bhagat, also offered a Group-A-level government job by the Government, was taken out on a procession from the Biju Patnaik International Airport upon his arrival. Congratulating Bhagat who is India’s first-ever para badminton gold medalist, the Chief Minister said the champion has inspired a generation of sportspersons and para-sportspersons to create their own destiny.
“Your victory was a proud moment for the entire nation and will remain forever so. You have truly redefined how sports can uplift and empower lives. I wish you all the very best for greater glory”, Naveen said and assured him government support in his journey ahead.
Bhagat expressed his gratitude towards the Chief Minister for the continuous support and motivation in his Olympic journey. “I have won 125 medals so far but Olympic medal is very special and close to my heart. My hard work for the last two decades and support of my family, government and people of Odisha has finally paid off”, he said.
Bhagat hoped that his Olympic gold medal will change people and government’s perception towards para sportspersons. Stating that para athletes of India have created history by winning 19 medals in the Tokyo Paralympic Games, Bhagat said that he is hopeful that the Central Government will announce the best of the cash award for them.
He also said he would be interested to serve in a sports-related position or as a Deputy Collector. Minister for Sports and Youth Services Tusharkanti Behera, Chairman of Hockey Promotion Council Dilip Tirkey, 5T Secretary VK Pandian and Commissioner, Sports, R Vineel Krishna were present.