For long, the Indian Olympic Association has been criticised for not doing nothing to support athletes. In a big shift, the National Olympic Committee has decided to reward all medallists who brought the country laurels at the Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang.This was India’s best medal haul at the Asian Games, 15 gold, 24 silver and 30 bronze medals. “Each individual gold medal winner will get Rs five lakh, silver medallist Rs three lakh and bronze medallist two lakh,” Narinder Batra, president, IOA, told Mail Today on Saturday.He said medallists in team events will also get cash prizes. Each gold medallist in team event will get Rs three lakh, silver medallist Rs two lakh and bronze medallist Rs one lakh. The awards function will be held at a south Delhi five star hotel on Sunday.At a time when many athletes and coaches are beating their chests over missing out on the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Arjuna Award and the Dronacharya Award, the IOA’s decision will lift their spirit.In recent times, the IOA has never presented cash awards to this extent. “We recognise the efforts of our athletes and they deserve these cash awards. India did well, according to our expectations, though a few more medals could have been won,” said Batra.The thinking within the IOA executive committee, which was elected last November, is athletes should get due respect. To be sure, when teams were selected for the Asiad, the IOA had done due diligence to a fair extent. There were instances when the IOA could have been more judicious in team selection, notably relating to teams like handball, sambo and a few more sport.advertisementSome of the top winners on Sunday will be Hima Das, Jinson Johnson, Manjit Singh, Mohammad Anas, Dutee Chand, as they won multiple medals in Jakarta.The men’s and women’s hockey teams, archery teams, table tennis teams and others who won medals will also be rewarded.