India badminton ace Saina Nehwal slams Sports Ministry for picking wrestler over her for Padma Bhushan
New Delhi: Olympic bronze-medallist Saina Nehwal has been left disappointed after the Sports Ministry decided to reject her application for the prestigious Padma Bhushan award this year, citing norms.
Saina Nehwal. Pic/Getty Images
Badminton Association of India (BAI) had recommended Saina's name for the award to the Sports Ministry in August last year but the ministry picked two-time Olympic medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar as it felt he was a more deserving candidate.
"I heard that Sushil Kumar's name was sent for Padma award as a special case, while my name was not sent to the Ministry of home affairs by sports ministry. The ministry guidelines says that there needs to be a gap of five years between two Padma awards.
"So if they can send his name, why they didn't recommend my name as I have completed the five years gap. I felt bad about it," said Saina who was awarded the Padma Shri in 2010.
The 24-year-old claimed that her application was rejected last year also on similar grounds but this year, the ministry decided to recommend Sushil's name even though he has not completed the five-year norm after being bestowed with the Padma Shri in 2011.
"Last year when I had sent my file for the Padma Bhushan award, the ministry said 'No Saina you can't apply this year because you have to complete five years for this.' So I again applied this year for the award. So why my name was not recommended this year?," she asked.
"After 2010, I had won a Commonwealth Games gold medal, first Olympic medal for badminton, achieved a career-high ranking of two and won so many super series titles, so I thought I was deserving as well. But if the name has not been sent then it feels bad," Saina said.
"I spoke to the higher officials yesterday. They said Sushil's name has already gone. I can only request them to look into it. "If we both can win that would be really good.
If his name has been sent as a special case then why my name has not been sent because even if they go by the rules, my name should be sent," she added.