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Wednesday, August 21, 2013 8:11:34 PM (IST)  

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Sports ministry in a fix to announce national sports awards

New Delhi, Aug 21 (IANS): For the second day running, the sports ministry has not been able to announce the national sports awards.

Senior officials in the department of sports Wednesday confirmed to IANS that the list has been finalised but they are unable to say what the hitch was in making the formal announcement.

A top official, on condition of anonymity, epressed his helplessness in throwing any light on the impasse as the file was still with Sports Minister Jitendra Singh.

"The matter is still undecided. Even I dont know, when the announcement will be made. The file is still with the minister," the official said.

Intense lobbying for getting female discus thrower Krishna Poonia the Khel Ratna, the highest sports award, has put the ministry in a fix.

The ministry was supposed to make the list final Tuesday, but Poonia, who is upset at not getting the Khel Ratna, spent the whole day lobbying for the award at the ministry.

Double trap shooter Ronjan Sodhi has been recommended for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, India's highest sporting honour, by the award's committee Aug 13. Cricketer Virat Kohli is one of the 14 chosen for the Arjuna Award to be presented at a ceremony here Aug 29.

The award's selection committee is headed by three-time billiards world champion Michael Ferreira and comprises former India hockey captain Zafar Iqbal, archer Limba Ram, cricketer Ravi Shastri and table tennis player Indu Puri amongst others.

Poonia, a 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, was upset that the committee ignored her for the Khel Ratna despite having support from some members.

She appealed to the sports minister to exercise his prerogative and give her the award along with with Sodhi.

Besides Poonia, 2012 London Paralympics silver medallist H.N. Girisha has also made his case for the Khel Ratna. He also said that he should be considered for the Arjuna Award, if not recommended for the Khel Ratna.

Reports said that the committee had earlier shortlisted Poonia and Girisha for the Khel Ratna. But Girisha's name was removed at the insistence of a member and Sodhi's name was included. Poonia later lost the race for Khel Ratna to Sodhi.

A hurt Sodhi, who has won two silver medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and a gold medal at the 2010 Asian Games, said that he has never lobbied for the Khel Ratna.

Full award list (Likely):

Rajeev Gandhi Khel Ratna: Ronjan Sodhi

Arjuna Awards:

Chekrovolu Swuro (Archery)
Renjith Maheshwary (Athletics)
P.V. Sindhu (Badminton)
Kavita Chahal (Boxing)
Rupesh Shah (Snooker and Billiards)
Virat Kohli (Cricket)
Abhijeet Gupta (Chess)
Gaganjeet Bhullar (Golf)
Saba Anjum (Hockey)
Rajkumari Rathore (Shooting)
Joshna Chinappa (Squash)
Neha Rathi (Wrestling)
Dharmender Dalal (Wrestling)
Amit Kumar Saroha (Athletics)



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