Bajrang Punia questions selection criteria of Khel Ratna Award
Virat scored 'zero' points, yet was selected for the award.
Updated - Sep 21, 2018 1:15 pm
Yesterday, the sports ministry announced that Virat Kohli, the Indian cricket team’s all-format captain, will receive the prestigious Khel Ratna Award on Tuesday, September 25, at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. He will be honoured by President Ram Nath Kovind. Back in 2016 and 2017, he was nominated for the same, but unfortunately, he tantalisingly missed out.
In the meantime, Bajrang Punia, who earned India a gold medal in wrestling in the 2018 Commonwealth Games, missed out on the award despite scoring 80 points. Virat scored ‘zero’ points, yet was selected for the award as per reports in The Times of India (TOI). Surprisingly, there’s no separate criterion for cricket, which isn’t an Olympic sport.
I’m really disappointed and shocked
Hence, the decision often sparks controversy. Mirabai Chanu, India’s weightlifter, became the other recipient of the award, garnering 44 points. In the meantime, apart from Punia, wrestler Vinesh Phogat also missed out after scoring 80 points. Quite expectantly, Punia isn’t happy by any means and he has lashed out at the sports ministry and also pledged to meet Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.
“I am hurt for not being recognised for my talent and performances, I don’t know what was the criteria of selection for this award. I am going to meet him in person to enquire about the matter. Now my hopes are pinned on Rathore as I believe I am one of the eligible candidates for the award,” he mentioned.
“I’m really disappointed and shocked. I’m meeting Sports Minister tomorrow after (mentor) Yogi bhai (Yogeshwar Dutt) spoke to him and arranged the meeting. I just want to know why I was being ignored. I want to know the reason. I didn’t talk to the federation about this matter. They have forwarded my name that means they are with me. But this is my personal fight,” he added.