Calcutta: The state government, on Saturday, conferred Sourav Ganguly and Leander Paes with Lifetime Achievement awards and Rs 5 lakh each in a glittering ceremony at the Netaji Indoor Stadium.
Apart from the duo, 62 other sports persons were felicitated under three categories — Krira Guru, Banglar Gourav, and Khel Samman — while 5300 clubs received financial assistance. While Khel Samman awardees will get Rs 50,000 each, Banglar Gourav recipients got Rs 1 lakh each.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee gave away the mementoes along with cash awards. “We are the first state to felicitate so many sportspersons from several disciplines. We want to encourage them to give their best and take our state to the No. 1 position,” Mamata said.
The chief minister formally announced that they would build a State Football Academy of which Gautam Sarkar would be the technical director. Speaking to the media, Sourav said: “If the state government can implement the plans, it will help in developing the state’s sporting infrastructure.”
Leander, who is busy with commitments, could not attend the ceremony. Dr Vece Paes collected the award on his behalf. He was also awarded the Krira Guru award. “It does feel nice when your and your son’s achievements are being recognised by the state government,” said Vece.
Syed Nayeemuddin said he is honoured to receive the Krira Guru award. “It is a matter of great pride to receive the honour.” In a nice gesture, Bhaskar Ganguli donated Rs 50,000 from his prize money of Rs 1,00,000 for the betterment of sports in the state.