Despite a marathon session behind closed doors, the sports ministry failed to take a decision on the national sports awards on Tuesday.
Apart from sports minister, Jitendra Singh, top officials of the ministry were huddled together for over two hours in the evening but no result could be arrived at. Sources in the ministry told HT that another round of deliberations will be held on Wednesday. “A final call will be taken on Wednesday,” said an official of the ministry.
The ministry’s panel, headed by former billiards world champion Michael Ferreira, has recommended Ronjan Sodhi for the Khel Ratna, but an upset Krishna Poonia, who was also in the race, has asked the ministry to reconsider her name for the prestigious award.
The focus of the minister’s talks, which commenced on Monday, with his staff, including secretary, sports, PK Deb, was whether to give the award to more than one person this year.
In fact, ministry officials were expecting a decision at the end of the day and most of them were set on make the final checklist for the grand event on August 29 at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
The delay will now force those entrusted with the logistics of the felicitation ceremony, to work overtime. “The main work starts after the names are finalised by the minister. There are a lot of boxes to be ticked for the final day,” said an official associated with the ceremony for long.
The most difficult aspect is establishing contact with the awardees and informing them of the ministry’s decision to honour them on August 29. “Many don’t respond to calls. Sometimes, the given numbers don’t exist. With time running out, our job becomes harder,” added the official.
Apart from sending out invitations to the family members (at least four are invited), etching the awardees’ names on the trophies also constitutes a part of the preparation. To ensure that nothing goes wrong at the last moment, the ceremonial dresses too have to be ready beforehand.
This is not the first time the ministry has encountered such a problem.
Last year too the preparations got delayed as the then-minister, Ajay Makan, wanted to reward the outstanding members of the Indian Olympic contingent. The London Games had concluded on August 12.