'About 400 coaching positions are lying vacant and the athletes who win can easily be engaged in those.' -Photo by AP

MUMBAI: The Indian sports ministry has promised coaching jobs on the government's payroll to all athletes who return with an Olympic medal from London.

Sports minister Ajay Maken, who is in London for the Games starting on Friday, was quoted by Indian media as saying roles would be free at the Sports Authority of India (SAI), which trains athletes in centres spread across the country.

“About 400 coaching positions are lying vacant at various SAI centres and the athletes can easily be engaged in those positions,” a sports ministry official, who declined to be identified, told Reuters on Friday.

“The details are being finalised and a public announcement regarding the scheme will be made soon.”

It could be good news for India's Olympic athletes, who mostly come from humble backgrounds and live life in obscurity, in sharp contrast to the fame and riches offered to the nation's cricketers.

The sports ministry was recently criticised after local media reported that Santhi Soundarajan, an athlete who was stripped of her 2006 Asian Games silver medal after a failed gender test, was working for a pittance at a brick kiln.

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