After shuttler Saina Nehwal, it’s Beijing Olympic bronze-medallist Vijender Singh who has thrown his hat in the Padma awards ring.
While he strongly backed grappler Sushil Kumar’s nomination for the Padma Bhushan, the boxer said “individual medallists, including me, should be eligible”.
Saying that his achievements, or for that matter any other sportsperson’s, did not measure up to those of double Olympic medallist Sushil, the poster boy of Indian boxing said, “All others, including me, are on par as we have won one medal in the Olympics.”
Saina Nehwal’s outburst had forced the sports ministry to recommend her name for the prestigious Padma award as a special case.
“By winning back-to-back individual Olympic medals, he (Sushil) has achieved what no other Indian sportsperson has done so far. He is the most deserving person for the award,” said Vijender.
“I only have one Olympic medal and Sushil has two, so how can I deserve the Padma Bhushan ahead of him? The question doesn’t arise... I only discussed the award’s criterion with Boxing India. That too after the deadline for sending the application (Sept 15) had expired. So, where does the question of me demanding the award arise?” said Vijender.
The ministry had initially recommended Sushil’s name for the award. “I support the ministry’s decision. I am hopeful he will get it,” said the Haryana boxer, who was conferred the Padma Shri along with Saina in 2010.