Khel Ratna, India's highest sports award, comes under cloud | other | Hindustan Times
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Khel Ratna, India's highest sports award, comes under cloud

Ace woman discus thrower Krishna Poonia has cried foul after double trap shooter Ronjan Sodhi was chosen for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the country's highest sports award, by a selection panel headed by billiards ace Michael Ferreira today.

other Updated: Aug 14, 2013 12:50 IST
HT Correspondent

Ace woman discus thrower Krishna Poonia has cried foul after double trap shooter Ronjan Sodhi was chosen for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the country's highest sports award, by a selection panel headed by billiards ace Michael Ferreira on Tuesday.

To add to this, a panel member has also alleged an improper selection process.

He claimed that the committee was initially voting between Poonia and HN Girisha, high jump silver medalist at last year's London Paralympics.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2013/8/14_08_13-pg1d.jpg

But the late arrival of panel member and former shooter Anjali Bhagwat changed things, with Girisha's name replaced by that of Sodhi.

Poonia and Sodhi were tied at 6-all in the voting but the Sports Authority of India as well as Railway Sports Promotion Board members - who did not have a vote - backed Sodhi to settle the case in his favour.

A dejected Poonia said she would approach sports minister Jitendra Singh. "Injustice has been done to me. I am really disappointed," she said.

Fourteen sportspersons, including cricketer Virat Kohli, have been recommended for the Arjuna award. The list needs to be ratified by the sports ministry.

Sodhi is the reigning Asian Games champion, had won World Cup titles and equalled world records, although he flopped at the big stage - the London Olympics where he failed to reach the final. Punia won the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medal in New Delhi and reached the final in London, where she finished sixth.