One of the most deserving athletes for the highest sporting honour, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, is still waiting.
Rifle shooter, Gagan Narang, the only Indian marksman to currently hold a world record and that too in the most competitive of shooting events —the 10m air rifle — boasts of three World Cup gold and an equal number of bronze. He has bagged four Commonwealth Games and two Asian Championship gold, besides three bronze medals at the Asian Games.
Narang, like shuttler Saina Nehwal hails from Hyderabad, is also ranked World No.2 --- and was World No.1 in 2006. But unlike Saina, he was not lucky when the committee headed by former sprint queen, PT Usha, sat down to select the athlete for the highest sporting honour.
"He's feeling very low and is heart-broken. Dejected with what happened last year, he even didn't want to apply this time around. I filled his form and submitted his portfolio," said Gagan's father, BS Narang, told HT over the phone from Hyderabad.
"This development has come on the eve of his event at the World Championships in Munich. He called up to say he didn't want to compete and wanted to return home. After all, what does the country want from him?' asked Narang.
"At a time when he has his sights set on the 2012 London Olympic Games quota at the biggest shooting spectacle in the world in four years --- the World Championships --- this news has left him frustrated.
"Just because there was a lot of media hype surrounding Saina, the committee members forgot about Gagan," the father said. "This is sad."