Indian sports was saved from a major embarrassment by the Union Government, thanks to the insistence that there would no change in the list of...
Indian sports was saved from a major embarrassment by the Union Government, thanks to the insistence that there would no change in the list of nominations already sent by the respective associations and federations with regard to the Arjuna awards and Rajiv Khel Ratna. By not bowing to unsavoury influences and cheap pressure tactics adopted by certain sections with regard to the prestigious Khel Ratna awards, the Government has sent across the message that administrators and not sportspersons will have the final say in the selection of awards for excellence.
The manner discus thrower Krishna Poonia tried to bulldoze her candidature was strange. It was unsporting and certainly unbecoming of her to fight the system when the selection panel zeroed in on champion shooter Ronjan Sodhi. By any yardstick, his achievements on the international firmament are way above those of Poonia. That controversy erupted in the first place is quite an indication of the mess sports culture finds itself in.
This is not the first such instance of its kind. Four years back, another shooter Gagan Narang had expressed his dismay when shuttler Saina Nehwal was preferred over him for the same award, despite his amazing exploits in the World Cup and the 2010 Commonwealth Games. He had a point because Saina had not even won the Olympic medal by then. With rejection of the petitions filed by Poonia and paralympian H N Girisha, it has become clear that the awardees would be picked on the basis only of international merit. One should give credit to the members in the panel, which included billiards legend Michael Ferreira and ace shooter Anjali Bhagwat, whose credentials are impeccable and stand testimony to India’s rise in non-cricketing disciplines. It is disgusting that Poonia tried to buy her way into the list by tapping Bhagwat, who, thankfully, did not buckle under ‘Olympian’ pressure.