ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbassi has sanctioned Rs 6 million prize money for Pakistan Davis Cup team, which beat Korea in the Asia-Oceania Group-I semifinals plyaed in here in Islamabad.

The sources have confirmed to The Nation that the PM has ordered Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) to release the cash awards to the national heroes, who made the country proud. “International tennis ace Aisam-ul-Haq and Pakistani No 1 Aqeel Khan will receive Rs2 million each, while Davis Cuppers Abid Ali Akbar and M Muzammil will get Rs500,000 each and coaches Hameed-ul-Haq and Mushaf Zia Rs500,000 each.

It is pertinent to mention here that soon after winning the Korean tie, Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) had requested the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) to announce cash incentives for the team. The PSB had promised to give due rights to national heroes and forwarded the summary to the PM office which was long pending there, but after the cash awards ceremony at the PM secretariat for Commonwealth Games medallists, Aisam and Aqeel had appealed the PM to not only release prize money for them as well as other athletes, who won laurels for the country at international level.

Talking to The Nation, Aisam said: “I am very grateful to the PM for acknowledging the efforts of mine and other team members. Obviously, it is good news for tennis fraternity and others will take heart. I hope according to government policy, Islamic Solidarity Games silver and other medal winning tennis and games players will also be given cash incentives as early as possible, as it will help the athletes and federations to put more efforts to win more glories for the country in international events.”

Sharing his views, Aqeel said: “It is a very good news for all the players. Being a sportsman and tennis player, I must say, like cricket and hockey, they should also be handed incentives immediately. I request the PM and government to treat other athletes in same manner as well. I am very happy and hopefully, the Islamic Solidarity Games prize money will also be released soon.

“I am also thankful to the PTF for helping us in getting our due reward, as we played out our hearts for the country and get the recognition. More than 95 percent players and athletes belong to lower middle class families and cash will boost their morals and help them continue paying attention towards sports and it will also buck others to join sports,” he added.

“I request the PSB to implement their policy. The SAG medal winners should also be given the prize money. The PSB should take this issue on priority bases, as rewarding only 6 or 7 medal winners is not a big deal for them. I hope the issue will be resolved soon and we will get our due right soon,” Aqeel concluded.

Talking to The Nation, PSB Acting Director General Amer Ali Ahmed confirmed that the PM has sanctioned the Rs 6 million grant for the tennis players, who did fantastic job against Korea in the Davis Cup. “My doors are always open for the federations, athletes and all those, who have made the country proud in sports. We will facilitate all the medal winners in best possible manner and keep on rewarding them to encourage for earning more glories for the country,” he concluded.