Sports

India Is Rewarding Its Olympic Winners With Free Cement

India’s multiple medals aren’t just a source of pride. They also come with gifts, both weird and wonderful.
SJ
Mumbai, IN
August 6, 2021, 10:23am
Crypto, Cars, Cement How India Is Rewarding Its Olympic Medallists
Team India celebrate with their Bronze Medals during the Victory Ceremony following the Men's Gold Medal match between Australia and Belgium at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on August 05, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Despite coming from a country of underfunded athletes and incomplete sports infrastructure, India has had a pretty great run this Olympic season. Its men’s hockey team, former eight-time gold medallists, just rewrote history by bagging an Olympic medal after 41 long years. 

The country also secured two silver medals, thanks to the stellar performances of weightlifter Mirabai Chanu and wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya. Even badminton champion PV Sindhu won a bronze, becoming the only Indian woman to ever win two Olympic medals. And boxer Lovlina Borgohain’s victory not only earned her a bronze medal, but also a road to her home that was once just a muddy path in her village.

The victories bring an immeasurable sense of pride for Indians everywhere. They also bring with them some hefty rewards for the hardworking lot killing it in Tokyo. 

India ranks fifth on the list of countries offering the highest rewards to Olympic winners, with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) giving cash prizes worth Rs 7.5 million ($101,073) for its gold medallists; Rs 400,000 ($53,917) for those who snag silver; and Rs 250,000 ($33,698) for athletes who bag bronze. Additionally, India’s Railways Ministry has announced cash prizes up to Rs 30 million ($404,468) for athletes and railway officials participating in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics. 

But cash isn’t the only reward these adept athletes are taking home along with their medals. There’s a lot of cool stuff coming their way, too. 

Cryptocurrency

The year’s hottest asset is now a reward for Olympic winners. Bitbns, an India-based cryptocurrency exchange platform, is offering systematic investment plans (SIPs) in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum to India’s medallists. In a press statement, the company said they are giving gold medallists an SIP worth Rs 200,000 ($2,699), while silver and bronze medallists will get plans worth Rs 100,000 ($1,349) and Rs 50,000 ($674) respectively. Though cryptocurrencies are in a legal grey area in Indian markets, they’re still worth the hype, especially when offered as an incentive. 

Healthcare on the house

If there’s one thing we’ve learnt this year, it’s that health is wealth. Glamyo Health, a healthcare startup with a network of over 200 hospitals across India, is offering free healthcare services for life for all 127 competing Indian athletes. The athletes can now get 50 kinds of surgical treatments for free. 

Free movie tickets

Theatres might not yet be fully open, but that’s just a minor inconvenience for medallists who are about to get a lifetime of free tickets. Inox Leisure, one of the country’s biggest movie theatre operators, has not only offered Olympic winners free tickets for life, but all participating athletes will also be given a year's worth of free tickets. You know, for when they want to see their potential biopics on the big screen – hopefully represented by actors of the right ethnicity, unlike this one

Cement

Giving out construction material to medallists is kind of… weird. But the idea behind this is a sweet sentiment nonetheless. Shree Cement, a company that makes the binding substance, has offered free cement for all Olympic winners to build their dream homes. While it’s still unclear whether they will also offer the bricks, labourers and expertise required to actually pull off these dream homes, you know what they say: You’ve gotta build a strong foundation to tower above the rest. 

Houses and cars

This offer, on the other hand, is slightly more straightforward. Savji Dholakia, a billionaire diamond merchant from India, doled out houses and cars as incentives for India’s Women’s Hockey team after they beat Australia in the semi-finals. In a tweet, Dholakia promised to provide Rs 1.1 million ($14,835) for each player to build their dream home. He also offered to buy players a car worth Rs 500,000 ($6,743) if they won a medal, though we’re not sure if this offer still stands since the team didn’t end up with a podium finish. 

A lifetime of free pizza

After weightlifter Mirabai Chanu declared that she was excited to eat pizza in celebration of her silver medal, Domino’s Pizza decided to serve her free pizzas. For life. They also sent pizza to her home in the Indian city of Imphal soon after she returned. 

The best kind of cheesy display out there. 

Follow Shamani on Instagram and Twitter.