Hyderabad/Vijayawada : Telangana and Andhra Pradesh vied with each other on Saturday to shower cash prizes on badminton star P.V. Sindhu, a day after she created history by winning silver at the Rio Olympics.
Telangana, the home state of the champion player, and Andhra Pradesh, the state which her parents come from, both claimed credit for Sindhu’s success.
Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Saturday evening announced a cash award of Rs 5 crore for the 21-year-old, hours after his Andhra Pradesh counterpart N. Chandrababu Naidu declared Rs 3 crore.
Rao also announced a 1,000 square yard house site in Hyderabad and a government job for Sindhu.
Naidu offered a 1,000 square yard house site in Amaravati, the upcoming state capital of Andhra Pradesh near Vijayawada. He said the state would also provide Group I officer’s job to the player.
Describing Sindhu as the pride of Andhra, Naidu announced the bonanza even before Telangana.
This gave a new twist to the attempts by both Telugu states to claim credit for Sindhu’s success.
“Sindhu has created history. We thought she would win the gold. She went down fighting and the entire country is proud of her after witnessing her fighting spirit. She is the pride of Andhra and we have decided to honour her on the victory,” he said.
Naidu also announced a Rs 50 lakh cash award to Sindhu’s coach and former All England champion Pullela Gopichand. The Telangana CM announced Rs 1 crore for Gopichand so that he can produce more world class players at his badminton academy in Hyderabad.
Naidu recalled that he as the Chief Minister of then united Andhra Pradesh had allotted Gopichand five acres of land in Hyderabad to set up a coaching academy and produce players like himself.
“He has done it. That’s what I was saying all along — if good infrastructure is created and with proper training, our children can win. Sindhu is an example of this,” Naidu said.
“When it was pointed out that neighbouring Telangana state was also taking credit for Sindhu’s victory, Naidu said there was nothing wrong if the states were different,” said a statement from the Chief Minister’s office.
The Telangana Chief Minister declared that the state government will also give Rs 1 crore cash prize to Sakshi Malik, the woman wrestler who won bronze at the Rio Olympics.
Rao said a grand welcome will be awarded to Sindhu on her arrival in Hyderabad.
Though as per the sports policy announced by Telangana early this year, an Olympic silver medallist is entitled to a cash prize of Rs 1 crore, the Chief Minister announced a huge bonanza after the Andhra cabinet took a decision to give Rs 3 crore, house site and job to Sindhu.
Both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are claiming Sindhu as their ‘ammayi’ (girl). The 21-year-old was born in Secunderabad, the twin city of Hyderabad, now a part of Telangana.
However, Sindhu’s fans in Andhra Pradesh claim that she has Andhra roots as her forefathers hail from Andhra.
Sindhu’s parents P.V. Ramana and P. Vijaya on Friday offered prayers to the family deity at Ratnalammakunta, a remote village in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. They prayed for their daughter’s victory in the final.
Ramana’s forefathers are said to be from West Godavari district. He later migrated to Hyderabad for his volleyball career and married Vijaya, also a volleyball player hailing from Vijayawada.