Punjab’s Gurjinder Singh hit the headlines earlier this year by becoming the country’s highest cash prize-winning hockey player. The Chandigarh Comets drag flicker won Rs one crore for being the Most Valuable Player of the inaugural multi-million dollar franchise-based World Series Hockey (February 29-April 2).
The 18-year-old drag flicker also shared the WSH’s Golden Stick award with Chennai Cheetah’s Pakistani drag-flicker Imran Warsi. Both shared the Rs 25 lakh award for scoring the most number of goals in the tournament (19).
Six months later...
Six months later, the Gurdaspur lad is yet to receive his eight-figure pay cheque. “Of the one crore, I was told that 30 per cent will be deducted as tax and I will subsequently receive Rs 70 lakh. However, I have only received 50 per cent of that amount (35 lakh). I have received half the amount for the highest scorer award too. Every time I speak to the organisers of the tournament, they ask me to be patient and say it will come in the following month. I don’t know what’s going on,” Gurjinder told MiD DAY from Bangalore yesterday after helping his team Punjab clinch the national hockey title beating Air India 2-1 in a keenly contested final. An own-goal in the second minute of extra-time saw Punjab beat AI 2-1, AI’s Vinaya Vokkaliga (38th minute) negated out Prabhdeep Singh 36th-minute opener. Gurjinder, who scored 12 times in the tournament — all from his lethal flicks — now finds himself on the threshold of a spot in he Indian team.
“I’ve been told that I will be called for the national camp and I’m really excited about that,” he said. However, given that the WSH is backed by the erstwhile Indian Hockey Federation and the national team is picked by the ruling Hockey India, Gurjinder finds himself in a spot. “I’m very keen to play in the second edition of the WSH (December 15, 2012 to January 20, 2013). After all, it is this tournament that has given me all the recognition. However, I want to play for India too. I hope I don’t lose out on an India cap due to reasons other than form,” added Gurjinder.
Yannick Colaco, CEO of Nimbus Sport (organisers of WSH) said the prize money issue is a simple case of misunderstanding. “As per the WSH player contracts, there were two parts to the payments — the contract fee and the bonus payments. While the contract fees were to be paid upfront, which has been done, the bonus was to be paid in two parts of 50 per cent each. Of this, the first 50 per cent was to be paid within 60 days of the tournament ending, which again has been done, while the remaining amount will be paid by October 31, 2012. That’s the way most contract payments of this nature are executed. It takes a few months for the entire money to come. Even the Board of Control for Cricket in India operate the Indian Premier League the same way,” said Colaco.