Sports Minister Jitendra Singh today had one round of meeting with his secretary P K Deb and decided to meet again tomorrow for a final decision. "No names have been approved yet.
We had one round of discussions today with the Minister but the discussions remained inconclusive," Deb told PTI. "We are again meeting tomorrow to discuss the names and will take a final call," he added.
With today's meeting remaining inconclusive, suspense continued on whether Poonia will also be named by the Sports Minister by exercising his prerogative along with double trap shooter Ronjan Sodhi, whose name was recommended by the selection panel on August 13.
The Sports Minister was also to take a call regarding the case of national volleyball player Tom Joseph whose name was reportedly approved initially by the selection panel for Arjuna Award only to be dropped later in the absence of SAI officials.
There are also indications that 2012 London Paralympics silver medallist H N Girisha could also be considered for the Arjuna Award, if not recommended for the Khel Ratna. It is learnt that Girisha will meet the Sports Minister on Wednesday regarding his case.
Girisha had written a letter to the Sports Minister on August 13 itself, saying that he should also be considered for the Khel Ratna. He had said that he should at least be considered for the Arjuna Award this year and for Khel Ratna next year.
The recommendation of Sodhi for Khel Ratna had sparked off a controversy with some members of the selection panel questioning the process of his selection.
It was learnt that Sodhi's name was not there when the majority of members decided to vote for the Khel Ratna awardee but brought back A selection panel member had said that Poonia and Girisha were shortlisted for voting by 11 out of 12 selection panel members and Sodhi's name was not considered initially.
The scenario changed after one member, a former shooter, came in late for the meeting and Girisha's name was removed and there was voting between Sodhi and Poonia. Poonia was initially tipped for the recommendation as she had more support among the members till Sodhi's name was brought back.