Sports awards in mud of Politics ?
This year’s National Sports Awards is going to be completely different for Satya Prakash Tiwari 2020. A crippled athlete with no hope of future is winner of prestigious Dhyan chand Award in Para Badminton category along with former shuttlers Pradeep Gandhe and Trupti Murgunde. Tiwari gave badminton first-ever Dhyan Chand Award for lifetime achievement. Apart from cricketers, shuttlers from India have been given such prominence. Infact first time in history, badminton has bagged six awards in the National Awards. These Awards have curved a milestone moment for Indian badminton. But apart from this glory this year too the national sports awards have become center of allegations of favours, lobbying, networking, social media presence. Once again politics has ruined Sports.
The Ministry played a real Game
Once again the autocratic ways of bureaucrats and ministers made a difference, likes and dislikes may crop up too, whether they support the government by toeing the line is important too. And then, there will be eminent sports personalities who will push a particular case too. Invariably, this leads to athletes trying to keep everyone happy, trying to play the political game… wish happy birthday to ministers, and thanking them profusely when they respond.Many of them greatly impacted the sports ecosystem in India but they will never have a Khel Ratna against their names. Should the Indian government look to honour them retrospectively?
Is Rohit bigger then Gavaskar ?
Even cricket was shamed. Is Rohit Sharma’s achievement bigger than Rahul Dravid or Sunil Gavaskar or Kapil Dev or PT Usha? For KHEL RATNA ? The entire matter looks topsy-turvy. Cricket’s governing body started the Hall of Fame to recognise “the achievements of the legends of the game from cricket’s long and illustrious history”. Now, the initiative was only launched in 2009 but the ICC has tried to ensure that no one misses out. If one looks at the list 20 years from now, it will make for a far more complete list than India’s list of Khel Ratna awardees ever will. And that is a bit of a shame. India hasn’t exactly been at the forefront of archiving sporting achievements but a Hall of Fame could perhaps help the country to remember it’s sporting greats better.
Khel Ratna Award is degraded
Winner of India’s highest sports award “Khel Ratna” in 2016 Sakshi Malik threw first solvo and accused Sports Ministry for not considering her for Arjuna Award, which has quite a lower rating as compared to the Khel Ratna. It was sheer disgrace and greed of the highest caliber. Because this award has prize money, chance of promotion and a higher pension when one retires. But is it justified to claim the glory of a graduate degree once you do doctorate ? Fact is India’s National Sports Awards are more famous for favours and deserving sports persons are remaining empty handed. This year’s crowd of Winners has shamed the award. Five Khel Ratna winners, 27 Arjuna Awardees in a non-Olympic, non-Asian Games year is a bit much. But even then, fingers are raised for omissions.
Neeraj’s omission will cost India !
In fact worst sufferer is nominations of Athletic Federation of India. They recommended Triple jumper Arpinder Singh, 100m runner Dutee Chand, middle-distance runners Manjit Singh and PU Chithra were nominated for the Arjuna and Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra for the Khel Ratna. Arpinder was ignored for the Arjuna Award despite winning the Asian Games gold in 2018 in an individual event while Dutee Chand, who won two silvers, has got the award. The Selection Committee may recommend, in deserving cases with proper justification, more than one sportsperson in respect of team sports and sportspersons of both the genders but this was not followed here. While table tennis star Manika Batra gets the Khel Ratna (for the same Asian Games and CWG performances that won her the Arjuna Award in 2018), but India’s true Olympic Hope Neeraj, who is among the best javelin throwers in the world, was ignored. Then, there is the case of Paralympic high jumper Mariyappan Thangavelu, who received the Arjuna Award and the Padma Shri for his gold at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. But now, has he got the Khel Ratna for the same achievements?The problem here is that the application of the criteria is not uniform.
Satya Prakash is a deserving Winner
Gandhe, who won doubles bronze at the 1982 Asian Games, was a contemporary of the likes of Prakash Padukone and Syed Modi. While the two-time South Asian gold medallist Murgunde was known for her tactical brilliance on court. Satya Prakash Tiwari has nine international medals to his name in recognised para events, para badminton team’s head coach Gaurav Khanna was also honoured with Dronacharya award. Under Khanna, the Indian team has scripted many glorious moments which also include gold medals at the World Championship. India’s No. 1 men’s double team members Chirag Shetty and Satwik Rankireddy also received the Arjuna award for their impressive performances in 2019. Receiving Dhyan chand Award for the first time is a special moment for the Indian badminton. Such recognitions always encourage athletes like Tiwari to work harder. Badminton Association of India (BAI)President Himanta Biswa Sarma has personally congratulated these winners of Dhyan chand Award as well as the other recipients. Latest sensations in Indian badminton – the doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and R. Satwiksairaj, who are ranked World No.10, have exploits on the world scene including the prestigious triumph in the 2019 Thai Super 500 Series championship and also finishing runner-up in last year’s French Open.