Many of them may be too young to apply for a driving licence, but now, they are all the proud owners of brand new Nano cars. On the concluding day of the National School Games here on Saturday, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav awarded Nano cars to the 10 best athletes.
Middle-distance runner Anjana Thamke from Nashik, who got three golds in the under-17 category, was among the lucky ones. Her coach Vijender gave her a ride around the track. I will now have to teach her driving also, he quipped.
The other winners included Apurva Ghagre (Maharashtra), Chitra P U (Kerala) and Dutee Chand (Orissa). Besides, each of the 2,600-odd athletes who participated in the event, held from January 29-February 2, was awarded a voucher that can be exchanged for a bicycle.
SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav also announced a cash reward of Rs 21,000 for the star performers, including Keralas long-distance runner Chitra P U, who won four golds in the under-19 section. The daughter of daily wagers, the 17-year-old said: My parents were unable to raise funds for my sisters wedding. This will help them. Besides, we are now a family that has a car.
There isnt any athlete in the country who doesnt use a bicycle as a means to keep fit, and reach his/ her destination also, said Akhilesh. Its the most important means of transport for them. Thats why my father decided to give bicycles, he added. Incidentally, the bicycle is also the SPs poll symbol.
Abhijit Singh, 16, from Jind, said: I walk almost 10 kilometres to the stadium everyday for practice. My family cannot afford to buy a cycle for me... now I will have my own cycle. It also means that I can reach home quickly after practice and help my father in the field.