For the first time since its inception in 1956-57, the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy will not be presented on the National Sports Day awards function on August 29. The trophy is given to the country's top university in sports and carries a cash award of Rs10 lakh.
Reason: With just four days remaining for the function at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) is yet to finalise the winning university for the 2010-11 season. Because of the delay, the sports ministry has decided to remove the MAKA Trophy from this year's presentation.
"As the AIU officials have not declared the winners, we had no option but to scrap the presentation of the trophy," said a senior ministry official. "We will hold a separate function for the MAKA Trophy later this year."
After a senior AIU official set an unsporting precedent by becoming the flag-bearer during the recently concluded World University Games at Shenzhen (China), this will be another blot on the functioning of the AIU.
"It will be a black day for university sports. When every other award, including the Arjuna, Dronacharya, Dhyanchand, and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, has been finalised, I don't see the reason why the AIU has failed in its duty," said Raj Kumar Sharma, director (sports), Punjabi University.
Earlier, the AIU had set June 30 as the last date for submitting 'claims' for the MAKA Trophy. Later, the date was extended to July 20. AIU had more than a month to finalise the winner, but, till date, no meeting had taken place.
Punjabi University, Patiala, claims to be the leading contender with 43,835 points, while the Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, says it has 45,005 points in its kitty. There is a 20 per cent deduction in points if a university files wrong claims.
AIU president, PT Chande, said, "We are having a meeting on the issue tomorrow. (But) I have no knowledge whether the trophy would be given on the Sports Day or not."