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Arjuna awards committee sticks by decision

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Despite all the criticism in the past one week, the Arjuna Awards selection committee on Tuesday decided to stick to the original recommendation of 15 athletes even as committee chairman Kapil Dev lashed out at some of the federation officials for criticising the list.

The committee was reconvened following reports of mistaken identity regarding boxer Manoj Kumar but Kapil insisted that despite a detailed discussion, the committee backed its decision to name pugilist Jai Bhagwan instead.

“We got some reports through the media and also some recommendations from the federations. The committee went through the entire list once again and we have decided to stick to the same list as before,” Kapil said after the meeting here.

Asked about Manoj’s case, Kapil was categorical. “There was no misunderstanding. Yes, his name was there and we did discuss in detail about him but we still found Jai Bhagwan better this year.

“Not just him, we looked into other names also which came through the ministry. We are very happy with the names we had given earlier,” he said.

Manoj had been mentioned as having been caught for doping by NADA, only to realise later that it was, in fact, a namesake school-level boxer. SAI sources said the mistake was made by NADA that did not mention his complete details which would have helped SAI in the verification process.

Kapil also lambasted Hockey India secretary-general Narinder Batra for questioning the integrity of the committee members.

“Who is Batra? Has he played for India? People will criticise if they have to; it doesn’t matter to me. If any administration feels the decision is not right, they should first look at their own credentials before pointing a finger,” he said.

Batra had questioned the decision to ignore hockey completely and the fact that five of the winners were from Kerala. Batra had also alleged that one of the awardees was related to committee member Anju Bobby George, which was rubbished by the former long jumper.

“Kerala is a part of India and if they are producing more sportspersons, then good luck to them. It’s a very shallow statement to talk about any one State.

“If athletes from his (Batra’s) State got many awards, would he still have said don’t give them? If there is no one from Haryana, it doesn’t bother me. These are National awards, not State awards,” Kapil said.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 6:16:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/arjuna-awards-committee-sticks-by-decision/article6332478.ece

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