It's official: No Khel Ratna for Poonia, Girisha ignored too | other | Hindustan Times
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It's official: No Khel Ratna for Poonia, Girisha ignored too

other Updated: Aug 23, 2013 02:52 IST
HT Correspondent

The week-long speculation over whether the sports minister, Jitendra Singh, would use his discretionary powers to add a name to the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna came to an end late on Thursday.

The panel headed by former world billiards champion Michael Ferreira had nominated shotgun shooter Ronjan Sodhi for the Khel Ratna, but discus thrower Krishna Poonia expressed dissatisfaction over the decision and had approached the minister, asking to be considered for the award.

With the minister making no change in the original list, Poonia's dreams of getting the award this year have been dashed.

Like Poonia, HN Girisha, silver medallist at the 2012 London Paralympic Games, had pleaded his case for the Arjuna Award after he wasn't considered for the Khel Ratna. His hopes too have faded away.

"There are no changes in the list (for the Khel Ratna and Arjuna)," said a ministry official associated with the awards. "The minister has given his approval to the names nominated by the panel."

In the past, the ministry had made an exception and awarded the Khel Ratna to more than one sportsperson, and the way things were being delayed this time there was speculation that a name could be added to the list.

The ministry also made it official that the date of the national sports award function had been put off from August 29 to August 31 due to the minister's busy schedule.

As has been the practice, the awards are given away on August 29, which is observed as the National Sports Day. The day marks the birth anniversary of the legendary Dhyan Chand.