The two events hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Indian Olympians and Paralympians recently, which were hailed widely as extremely motivating gestures for the sporting community, are now also proving to be big money-spinners for the public exchequer.
Over 15 items presented by the athletes to the prime minister during these events could now fetch the government over Rs 10 crore as part of the online auction that started on Friday under the aegis of the culture ministry. The biggest draw is the javelin which Tokyo gold medalist Neeraj Chopra had presented to PM Modi and has a starting base price of Rs 1 Crore. There are over 1,200 items on e-auction of the various gifts received by the prime minister lately, but the most expensive ones on this list, with the highest base price totalling nearly Rs 10 crore, are the nearly 15 items that the Olympians and the Paralympians had presented to the PM.
“These items in the end may fetch even more during the auction given the euphoria in the country over the performance of the Olympic and Paralympic contingents and we expect people to bid encouragingly for these items,” a senior government official told News18. The proceeds of this auction will go towards the Namami Gange Mission to clean the Ganga river.
Top on the chart after Chopra’s javelin is the two angavastras (stole) that both the contingents had presented to the PM Modi and each has a base price of Rs 90 lakh. An autographed angavastra was presented by the Paralympians to the prime minister during a breakfast hosted by him to felicitate the contingent while the other is one presented by the Olympians with their signatures. Then, the hockey stick of Indian women hockey captain Rani Rampal also has a base price of Rs 90 Lakh. “The blue coloured hockey stick includes a logo named Rakshak written in white, and the model number is Rani 28, which directly points to Rani Rampal, the captain of the Women Hockey Team of India and 28 is her jersey number. The signatures of the entire Indian hockey team run along the body of the hockey stick,” the description reads.
The badminton racquet and bag of bronze medalist PV Sindhu is up for grabs at a base price of Rs 90 lakh while the hockey stick from the men’s team is up for auction with a base price of Rs 80 lakh and has signatures of all team members of the team. The handle of the badminton racquet has Sindhu’s signature. The badminton racquet autographed by Pramod Bhagat, gold medalist at the Paralympics also has a base price of Rs 90 lakh. Bhagat had used this racquet to win his gold medal match.
The boxing gloves of silver medalist Lovlina Borgohain, used by her in the Olympics, have a base price of Rs 80 lakh and are signed by her as well. The fence used by CA Bhavani Devi in fencing at the Olympics 2020 has a base price of Rs 60 lakh. She is the first Indian fencer to ever qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. The badminton racquet autographed by Suhas Lalinakere Yathiraj, badminton silver medalist at Paralympic games is up for grabs with a base price of Rs 50 lakh. He used this racquet to win the silver medal.
The table tennis racket autographed by Bhavina Patel, silver medallist at the Paralympic games, has a base price of Rs 25 lakh, while the discus autographed by Yogesh Khatuniya, silver medalist at Paralympic games, has a base price of Rs 25 lakh as well. The autographed discus and table tennis racquet were presented by them to the Prime Minister. The red coloured discus contains the signature of Khatuniya and a “thank you with a smiley emoticon” as well.
The sharp-shooting glasses worn by Manish Narwal, who bagged a gold medal in Paralympic games, are up with a base price of Rs 20 lakh while the T-shirt worn by Bhavina Patel at the Paralympic games, where she won a silver, is up for auction at a base price of Rs 15 lakh. The national flag of India is stitched on the left, near the buttons of the t-shirt and the central portion contains a message thanking the Prime Minister.
The archery equipment autographed by Harvinder Singh, bronze medallist at Paralympic games is available at a base price of Rs 15 lakh while the T-shirt worn by Avani Lekhara, who won a gold medal in 10m air rifle standing and a bronze medal in 50m air rifle standing at the Paralympic games, is up for auction at base price of Rs 15 lakh.