Disappointed at not getting the coveted Khel Ratna, ace Indian shooter Gagan Narang on Sunday took a dig at its selection criteria, saying the country's highest sporting honour seems to be decided more on the basis of public and media perception than the athletes' performance.
The world number two Narang on Saturday became the first Indian to qualify for 2012 London Olympics after shooting a bronze in the 10 metre air rifle event in the 50th World Championship in Munich.
"I am very very disappointed over what happened to me. It was third time in a row. I think, Khel Ratna is just inclusion of the public perception and media perception.
"It was disheartening to know that I was in run for my achievement in 2009, I was in with a chance in 2008 also. But I would rather like my guns to talk and hope that the bronze medal opens up a few blind folds," Narang told a news channel.
In the final round in Munich, Narang held his nerves to shoot a score of 102 which helped him bag bronze in a strong field of 128 shooters.
The Indian lamented that even the world record could not fetch him the country's top sports award.
"I thought that I would get when I shot the world record and I am still the world record holder," said Narang.
National sports awards selection committee headed by P T Usha met here on July 30 and decided to bestow the Khel Ratna award to ace shuttler Saina Nehwal.