Padma Bhushan row: If Saina Nehwal, why not other Olympic medallists? | other | Hindustan Times
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Padma Bhushan row: If Saina Nehwal, why not other Olympic medallists?

Ace badminton player Saina Nehwal's public outburst was enough to move the sports ministry to recommend her name for the third-highest civilian award as a special case, three-and-a-half-months after the deadline for submitting nominations.

other Updated: Jan 06, 2015 04:51 IST
Saurabh Duggal

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2015/1/06_01_15-metro29b.jpgOnly the ministry of home affairs can tell whether London Olympic medallist Saina Nehwal's name will feature in the final list of Padma Bhushan winners.

Her public outburst was enough to move the sports ministry to recommend her name for the third-highest civilian award as a special case, three-and-a-half-months after the deadline for submitting nominations.

No one will question whether Saina deserves the award or not. But eyebrows are being raised on the way she questioned the ministry's judgement of not equating her achievements with India's only two-time Olympic individual medallist Sushil Kumar. Where is the sportsman's spirit?

There are other Olympic medallists whose achievements are comparable to Saina's, then why not nominate them for the Padma Bhushan. Whether they get it or not is a different issue.

Other contenders

If the ministry is ready to accommodate a nomination after the deadline, then why not make a special case for London Olympic medallist shooter Gagan Narang, who got the Olympic medal a year after getting the Padma Shri and also won medals in the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Or, for Beijing Olympic medallist Vijender Singh, who got the Padma Shri in 2010, and went on win gold at the 2010 Asian Games and silver at the 2014 CWG.

Wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt's achievements are no less. Though he got the Padma Shri in 2013 for his bronze at the London Olympics, he went on to win gold at the 2014 Asian Games and broke the nation's 28-year gold medal drought in wrestling.

Following Saina's public outburst against the sports ministry for only recommending Sushil's name, the ministry came up with a press release on Monday stating: "In view of the achievements of Saina Nehwal, the department of sports has decided to recommend her case for Padma Bhushan to the ministry of home affairs as a special case, although the last date for making the recommendation is long over."

The ministry also went on record to state that they hadn't got an application "for or from" Saina before the deadline. They only received Saina's nomination for a Padma Bhushan from the Badminton Association of India on January 3, 2015, three months and 20 days past the deadline. In view of her achievements, the ministry decided to go ahead.

Whether the ministry's decision to recommend Saina is a case of succumbing to pressure or they felt her name should have been included along with Sushil's is anybody's guess.