Triple jumper Renjith Maheshwary’s name was in the list released of the awardees in the National sports awards. The official announcement came earlier this month that he had been selected for the Arjuna award. However, sports ministry officials pointed out that for the time being, the award will not be given to him.
The reason? At the 48th Open national athletics meet in Kochi held in 2008, the urine sample of Maheshwary tested positive and he was provisionally suspended and disqualified. Following a hearing, the Athletic Federation of India (AFI) panel handed him a three-month suspension.
The 27-year-old finished fourth at the 2006 Asian Games and won the 2007 Asian Championships. He also competed at the 2007 World Championships but did not reach the final. Maheshwary represented India at the 2008 Beijing and the 2012 London Olympics.
“There has been a news report in an English daily today of me having failed a dope test before. Some vested interests are out to wreck my career and I will not go to receive the award,” said a peeved Maheshwary on Saturday before the awards ceremony.
Reacting to the sequence of events, former international athlete Anju Bobby George said that the concerned committee that selects and announces the list of Arjuna Awards looks into all the issues. “The award was announced and he came to Delhi to receive it and now reports say that he might not be given,” said George.
Another former international athlete Bobby Alosyious said that it’s really painful to go through what Maheshwary has undergone. “It’s really humiliating for him because his name was announced before,” said Alosyious. Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told IANS that he is not aware of what happened in Maheshwary’s case, but will find out. “Former India volleyball captain Tom Joseph was denied an Arjuna and lot of news reports were there on him being given a raw deal. I also spoke to people in Delhi. What we have decided is that the government will now give him a special honour,” said Chandy.