Fri, 13 Jul 2012 09:31:20 GMT | By IANS

Anand felicitated by Bengal with sweets, cash and memento

Kolkata: From sweets and mementos shaped like chess boards, to Rs.5 lakh cash and a jar of Bengal's favourite sweet rosogolla - there were gifts galore for world chess champion Viswanathan Anand, who was felicitated by the West Bengal government here Thursday.

Anand felicitated by Bengal with sweets, cash and memento

A host of sports personalities covering many disciplines - former celebrated footballers Chuni Goswami and P.K. Banerjee, international archer Dola Banerjee, athlete Soma Biswas, former Indian hockey captain Gurbux Singh and a large number of chess players, ministers, businessmen, monks and nuns were present at the star-studded yet somewhat chaotic programme at the Kshudiram Anushilan Kendra.

"Anand, we are proud of you," said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was away in north Bengal, over phone to Anand, who relished every minute of the felicitation which saw a large turnout of school children with the chess champion's pictures pinned on their chests.

The five-time world champion was showered with scarves, dhotis and Italian chocolates. Anand's wife Aruna, who had to stay away from the function due to sudden illness despite arriving to the city Thursday morning, was given a saree, while a baby suit was given for his one-year-old son Akhil.

The state government also handed out a grant of Rs.1 lakh to Grand Master Surya Sekhar Ganguly, a member of Anand's team of seconds since the 2008 world championship.

Speaking on the occasion, state Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee said: "By felicitating Anand we are glorifying ourselves".

Replying to the felicitation, Anand recalled his long association with the metropolis. "Right from my childhood, when I first came to Kolkata to play a tournament - I hae always fund a city a paradise for sportspersons. I have always found it a pleasure to come here and enjoy the adulation."

"The warmth and affection with which you received me is very difficult to replicate," he added.

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