LAHORE: The Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) on Friday honoured the medal winners of the recently concluded Gold Coast Commonwealth Games with cash awards. POA President Lt-Gen (r) Syed Arif Hasan was the chief guest at the ceremony which was held at the Olympic House to acknowledge the hard work and achievements of Muhammad Inam Butt (gold medallist in wrestling), Muhammad Bilal (bronze medallist in wrestling), Tayab Raza (bronze medallist in wrestling), Talha Talib (bronze medallist in weightlifting) and Muhammad Nooh Dastgir (bronze medallist in weightlifting). “The medal winners are our national heroes and they have made the entire nation proud by winning one gold four bronze medals in the mega event,” said the POA chief at the ceremony “The cash awards being given to them are a token of appreciation and to acknowledge their performance and commitment for bringing laurels for their country,” Arif added.The gold medal winner was awarded cash prize of Rs.300,000 and the bronze medal winners each pocketed cash prize of Rs.100,000. The POA chief also announced cash prize of Rs.100,000 each for the coaches of the respective medal winners. Letters of Appreciation were also awarded to the Pakistan Wrestling Federation, Pakistan Weightlifting Federation and Pakistan WAPDA. Four medallists belong to WAPDA whereas one is from Higher Education Commission. “Like the medal winners, their coaches also deserve praise for inspiring them to achieve excellence.” Arif said the POA would urge the government and all other stakeholders to give handsome monetary awards to the medallists and also recommended the name of Muhammad Inam Butt for the Pride of Performance award. The POA chief also suggested that the government should provide international standard infrastructure for wrestlers and weightlifters at Gujranwala for training of the potential medallists and Olympians of future.“It is also right time that the PSB provides complete financial support to the national sports federations to ensure participation in the Olympic Qualifying Round with an aim to qualify and strive for medals at 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It is pertinent to mention that both the PSB and WAPDA hire the services of foreign coaches to enhance the skills of our weightlifters and wrestlers to bring more laurels for the nation,” he said. Arif pointed out that it was great honour for WAPDA that four medalists including gold medal winner Inam are their employees. “Congratulations to Lt-Gen (r) Muzammil Hussain, WAPDA Chairman, and his team for doing excellent job for the promotion of the games in the country. I also congratulate Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman HEC, since Tayab Raza belongs to the HEC – a student of University of Central Punjab Lahore,” Arif concluded.Published in Daily Times, April 21st 2018.