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Saina Nehwal says she never demanded Padma Bhushan award

New Delhi: Badminton ace Saina Nehwal is "upset" that her quest to know the reason behind the rejection of her nomination for Padma Bhushan snowballed into a big controversy, saying that she never demanded for the prestigious award and would respect the decision of the Sports Ministry.


Saina Nehwal

"I didn't really like the way media put it that I have demanded the award. Who am I to demand for the award. I am nobody. I am a sportsperson. I play for my country. I just wanted to know why my name was not considered. I just wanted the eligible players' name to be considered. Thats all. Finally what the penal decides is what I am going to respect," said Saina.

"My work is just to play for my country and win as many medals as possible. Rest, I don't know why I was simply put into this controversy and Sushil (Kumar) is a great friend and people have made it really big. i am really upset about it. This is not the right way to put it."

Talking about two-time Olympic medallist Wrestler Sushil Kumar, whose name was recommended by Sport Ministry to the Ministry to Home Affairs as a special case, Saina said: "Me and Sushil always speak to each other. We are from the same place as well, Haryana. There is nothing wrong between us. I will be very happy if Sushil gets the award."

The Sports Ministry today decided to recommend Saina for the Padma Bhushan award but insisted that it did not receive her nomination from the Badminton Association of India (BAI) within the stipulated deadline.

"In view of the achievements of Ms. Saina Nehwal, the Department of Sports has decided to recommend her case for Padma Bhushan to the Ministry of Home Affairs as a special case although the last date for making the recommendation is long over," the Ministry said in a statement.

Thanking Sport Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Saina said: "I am thankful to Mr Sonowal Sir for doing this and it's a great support."

On Saturday, a disappointed Saina had stated that BAI had recommended her name for the Padma Bhushan in August last year but the Sports Ministry rejected her application, citing norms.

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