The list of Indian athletes selected for the Queen’s Baton Relay handover ceremony has a surprise exclusion.
Announced on Friday, the list does not feature the name of pistol shooter Samaresh Jung, the Arjuna Award recipient in 2002 and, more importantly, the best sportspersons at the 2006 Melbourne Games.
The list includes other famous names like 2008 Olympic gold-medallist Abhinav Bindra, Olympic medallists Vijender Kumar and Sushil Kumar, Milkha Singh, Gurbachan Singh Randhawa, Prakash Padukone, Kapil Dev, Karnam Malleswari, Sania Mirza along with former national squash champion Misha Grewal and hockey player Dilip Tirkey.
Jung bagged the David Dixon Award for the best athlete at the 18th edition of the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, for amassing the highest number of medals —five gold, a silver and a bronze.
But the 39-year-old Delhiite, who earned the sobriquet of 'Goldfinger' after his Melbourne performance, had this to say about the glaring omission.
“I have nothing to say. I didn't even know that a list like this was supposed to come out. It makes no difference to me.”
ASV Prasad, the joint director-general (sports) of the Organising Committee (OC), refused to comment, while head of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi was not available for comment.
The Queen's Baton Relay, a curtain raiser to the 2010 Commonwealth Games, will be launched by Queen Elizabeth II, on October 29 at the Buckingham Palace in London. She will hand over the baton to President Pratibha Patil, who will then pass it on to the Sports Minister MS Gill.
Ten IOA officials and 15 other members will accompany the athletes.
“Eleven athletes, 10 IOA officials and 15 workforce will be there in London. All the 11 athletes are either Arjuna Award winners or Padma Award recipients.
“The IOA officials are heads of various CWG committees,” Kalmadi said.
“Interestingly, the contingent has the name of former squash champion Misha Grewal, who quit playing more than a decade back.