Advani flays Centre’s bias for elite events

Advani flays Centre’s bias for elite events

Advani flays Centre’s bias for elite events. Ace cueist Pankaj Advani criticised the Union Government’s decision to confer Khel Ratna award on Sania Mirza.

Champion cueist blasts Rajiv Khel Ratna for Sania

New Delhi: Ace cueist Pankaj Advani criticised the Union Government’s decision to confer Khel Ratna award on Sania Mirza. Sania was given the award on August 29 despite the Karnataka High Court issuing a notice on the petition filed by paralympian HN Girisha, who challenged the decision of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Arjuna awards selection committee.

Pankaj Advani

The 13-time world billiards and snooker champion said the government should not be ‘swayed’ by the ‘hype’ created around a sport. "When we talk about sports in India, we get carried away by the hype generated around a sport. You cannot be swayed by the popularity of a particular sport or a sportsperson,” Advani, who himself is a Khel Ratna awardee, said.

“I think when it comes to government awards, let's treat every sporting achievement in a pure way. There are a lot of sportspersons who are not that popular and, because of that reason, it's like a more popular sportsperson getting the bigger award," Advani said.

In his petition, Girisha argued that he accounted for 90 marks (70 for London Paralympics silver medal and 20 for Incheon Asian Games bronze) during the award computation period from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2014, while Sania's WTA titles and Wimbledon doubles victory do not count as per the government's performance-based points system.

Also, it was not Sania but the sports ministry that had forwarded her application for the Khel Ratna to the selection committee only after her Wimbledon doubles crown with Martina Hingis. “I believe there's less weightage for team events, and then you have Sania getting the Khel Ratna for being the doubles world No 1 which is a team effort.

If I talk about the cue sports, our multiple-time national champion and 2013 World Championship gold medallist Vidya Pillai had applied for the Arjuna, but her achievements were not even considered. Why is there discrimination when it comes to selecting people for awards or making policies?" asked the 30-year-old Bengaluru-based cueist, Advani, who recently defended his World 6-Red snooker title in Pakistan.

“When I got the Khel Ratna and Arjuna, the point system was extremely fair. “But today, I can't put my hand on the heart and say that the entire system is transparent. We hear cases of lobbying, favouritism and people using their influence.

I mean we are talking about sport and let's keep the selection fair,” added Advani. Both Maken and Advani were of the opinion that more and more former sportspersons who have no conflict of interest and are extremely fair should be made part of such award committees.

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