Karthikeyan to be nominated for Arjuna Award
The Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) will recommend India's first Formula One driver Narain Karthikeyan for an Arjuna Award, it was announced in Chennai on Saturday.
FMSCI president Rajat Majumdar, speaking to the media after a two-day brainstorming session in Chennai said: "Narain Karthikeyan, who put India on the world motor sport map, fully deserves an Arjuna Award and the FMSCI has decided to recommend his name to the government of India.
"We are currently processing our recommendation which we hope to submit shortly," he added.
He pointed out that no one from the motor sports arena had ever received the prestigious Arjuna Award and was hopeful that Karthikeyan, who drove for the Jordan team for one season, would be the first such recipient.
FMSCI, which regained the status of a national federation following the decision of the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) to de-recognise rival body Motor Sports Association of India (MAI), would not be indulging in any vindictive acts, the official said.
"The FMSCI will honour the licenses issued by the MAI and allow them to run until their expiry on December 31, 2008. We also would not like to disturb the calendar of events drawn up by the MAI," said Majumdar while hinting that FMSCI would rather reconcile with its rival.
"If in future, if MAI wishes to conduct any events, we certainly will not come in the way," he added.
However, the MAI has appealed the FIA decision and the hearing is scheduled for July 29 in Paris. FMSCI is confident the appeal would be rejected.
Majumdar pledged greater transparency in FMSCI's functioning and said every effort would be made to attract more sponsors to support its motor sport activities while passing on the benefits to the competitors.
As a first step, the FMSCI would bear the expenses of its officials attending events rather than asking the organisers to foot the bill, as was the case during MAI's eight-year rule.
In a significant move, Majumdar met with top MRF executives in a bid to convince the Chennai-based tyre company to continue its support of motor sport by way of participation in national events and also provide tyres at subsidised cost if not free, to the competitors.
Majumdar also announced FMSCI plans to conduct international events like dirt track races and motocross for two-wheelers besides a round of Asia Zone championship.
"Our immediate plans are to consolidate motor sports in India and take it to the next level. We will be extending support to the promoters of the Indian Grand Prix Formula One race to be held in Noida in October 2010. The construction work is expected to commence in October this year," Majumdar said as he sought to dispel doubts over the conduct of the race as scheduled.
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