Wrestler Sushil Kumar, the only Indian sportsperson to win back-to-back individual Olympic medals, is disappointed to miss out on the Padma Bhushan award though his name had been recommended.
Sushil’s name had been recommended by the Sports Ministry but he was not considered for the honour since he had received the Padma Shri award in 2011.
As per the guidelines, there needs to be a period of at least five years between two Padma awards to the same person.
However, this provision can be relaxed in “highly deserving cases” which is up to the discretion of the government.
Under this rule, Sushil would be eligible for the Padma Bhushan or Padma Vibhushan only after 2016.
The 29-year-old Sushil said that it would have been good if his efforts of winning two consecutive Olympic medals had been recognised but he was willing to wait.
“I am disappointed because such recognitions always motivate you but it’s part and parcel of life. You feel bad but one has to move on and take it in his strides,” said Sushil.
Sushil won the bronze medal in the free-style event of the Beijing Games in 2008 and became the first Indian to win back-to-back individual medals when he clinched the silver medal in the London Olympics in 2012. He was also rewarded with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 2009.
Wrestling coach Satpal was also disappointed that his ward Sushil missed out on the award this year.
“Sushil is an icon and has won two Olympic medals. It’s a historic achievement and he deserved the honour,” he said.
Batting great Rahul Dravid and Olympic bronze medallist M C Mary Kom were yesterday named for the prestigious Padma Bhushan Awards, the third highest civilian honour, while six other sports persons figured in the list of Padma Shri awardees.
Apart from Dravid and Mary Kom, six others sports persons -- mountaineer Premlata Agrawal, wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, Para athlete Hosanagara Nagarajegowda Girisha, London Olympic silver medallist shooter Vijay Kumar, boxer Ngangom Dingko Singh and rower Bajrang Lal Takhar were chosen for the Padma Shri Awards.