ISLAMABAD - The Interim Committee of Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) has reserved Rs five million to award cash prizes to medal winning athletes of the ongoing National Games 2013.

Speaking at the press conference here at PSB Media Centre on Tuesday, POA interim committee president Asif Bajwa said: "It will be for the first time in country's history that winning athletes will also be getting cash prizes in a national event."

He said the winner of a gold medal in an event would get Rs 3000, silver medalist Rs 2000 and bronze medalist Rs 1500. He said the athlete claiming more than one medal would be rewarded accordingly adding the amount would be paid to them before they disperse.  Bajwa said excellent arrangements had been made to facilitate the athletes during the Games adding they would go back with good memories. “The daily allowance for athletes has been doubled while a number of other steps have also been taken to ensure that they are properly looked after during their stay in the capital.”

To a query, he replied: “The strict action will be taken against the athletes who went to South Korea to participate in Asian Indoor Games. They have violated government’s policy by featuring in these games; hence action will be taken against them."

Bajwa said the LHC had given go ahead to POA elections as per schedule on July 5 as the in hearing held on Tuesday and the case filed by the rivals was deferred till September. “The elections will be conducted at a local hotel at 11am and three-member election committee consists of former judges will be responsible for conducting the elections in smooth and transparent manner.”

Bajwa thanked Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC), Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and National Games organising committee for making excellent arrangements and making games a huge success.

Replying to a query regarding suspension of Pakistan Basketball Federation by International Basketball Federation, he said: “I am honoured by my country not by the international federation and I will fulfill the responsibility given to me with dedication and zeal.” When this scribe asked Bajwa the IOC would suspend Pakistan membership if the POA elections were conducted, he replied: “We follow our own constitution and we are responsible to implement Supreme Court and government orders. I am sure with the passage of time, the IOC will understand and things will be sorted out smoothly.”