Demonstrating her passion for sports once again, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday accorded a reception to the country's leading athletes and players, who brought laurels for the nation at the international arena over the past six months, on the occasion of Bangla New Year 1424.
As many as 339 athletes, coaches and officials attended the over one-hour long programme at the PM's official residence Ganobhaban in the evening.
The Prime Minister first handed over the keys of apartments to three 2016 South Asian Games gold medalists -- swimmer Mahfuza Khatun Shila, weightlifter Mabia Akter Simanta and shooter Shakil Ahmed.
She then handed over medals and cheques for money to the players of Bangladesh Women Cricket Team, Bangladesh National Cricket Team, Bangladesh Women Soccer Team, Bangladesh Under-14 Football Team, Bangladesh Deaf Cricket Team, Bangladesh Special Winter Olympics Team, Bangladesh Men and Women Archery Teams, Bangladesh Roller Skating Team, Bangladesh Men and Women Handball Teams, Bangladesh Hockey Team, Bangladesh Shooting Team, Bangladesh Weightlifting Team, Bangladesh Volleyball Team and Bangladesh Junior Women Badminton Team.
In her speech after distributing the cheques of gifts among some 339 players, the Prime Minister said her government will continue to do whatever necessary for flourishing sports in the country. "Our Awami League government will continue to do whatever necessary for flourishing sports and games," she added.
Noting that the improvement of sports is not possible single handedly and that government and private sponsorships are very much necessary, she renewed her call to the well-off section of society to extend their hands of cooperation and all-out support for spreading various sports and games.
Hasina said although the sportsmen and athletes of Bangladesh have gained successes, they will have to go further.
She also observed that those who are very much associated with the country's sports arena have notable contributions towards placing the country into a dignified position in the global arena.
The Prime Minister expressed her heartfelt thanks to the players for their successes and greeted them on the Bangla New Year.
She said she has provided the cheques as the New Year gifts to the players who have further brightened the image of Bangladesh in the global arena through various sports disciplines.
Hasina said sports and the exercise of cultural activities are very much essential in the life of juvenile and youth alongside academic activities.
Earlier, Bangladesh limited-overs captain Mashrafe Bin Mortaza received Tk 1 crore while Test skipper Mushfiqur Rahim Tk 1 crore from the Prime Minister.
The Bangladesh Cricket Board gave the money to the Bangladesh cricket team for their stunning performance against Sri Lanka.
Hasina also handed over Tk 1 crore each to Bangladesh Hockey Federation and Bangladesh Swimming Federation.The BCB has recently pledged to give the money as donations to the two federations.
She also gave Tk 10 lakh to Bangladesh Under-16 Women Team which became champions in the AFC Regional Championship held in Dhaka in August last. The BCB gave this donation, too.
Housing and Public Works Minister Engineer Mosharraf Hossain, State Minister for Youth and Sports Dr Biren Shikder, Deputy Minister for Youth and Sports Arif Khan Joy, Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Sports Ministry Zahid Ahsan Russel, Awami League's Youth and Sports Secretary Harunur Rashid and BCB President Nazmul Hassan Papon were present on the dais.