Indian shooter Manu Bhaker's father angry after her award snub
Manu Bhaker's father Ramkishan said he has repeatedly tried to contact the top officials of the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) but did not get any response
New Delhi: Shooting sensation Manu Bhaker's father Ramkishan on Wednesday questioned the selection criteria after the shooting ace was not considered for the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar Award. The 17-year-old has won a plethora of medals in top international competitions since starting out as a 16-year-old in the ISSF World Cup in Mexico in 2018, in which she became the youngest Indian to win a gold at the World Cup. "If she is ignored like this after winning so many medals, then it is really disappointing. I would like to ask again what is the criteria behind selecting the award winners? Hasn't she done enough?" Ramkishan told PTI over phone.
Ramkishan said he has repeatedly tried to contact the top officials of the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) but did not get any response. "We applied for it well before the deadline and since I came to know from someone that Manu's name is not going to be there this year also, I tried calling the secretary, joint secretary and assistant secretary, but none of them felt the need to respond." "Every time I called them, their personal assistants said they were busy. I have also written 25 mails to them but to no avail," he said.
However, a source in the Ministry said: "The selection panel which vetted the candidates had representatives of Sports Ministry." The winners received the awards in a grand ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhawan from President Ram Nath Kovind, with Bengaluru's Yash Aradhya becoming the first Indian motorsports driver to win the honour. Kovind conferred the awards to 49 children in the age group of 5-18 years.
The award is given to children for excellence in the fields of innovation, social service, scholastic, sports, art and culture and bravery. It comes with a medal, a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh, a certificate and a citation. In September last year, the Ministry of Women and Child Development had extended the last date of receipt of applications for the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar till September 30.
"We applied before September 22, so I was wondering if we had gone wrong somewhere, we wanted to ask them but they were not forthcoming. This is not fair selection." In December 2019, Bhaker clinched two gold medals in the 63rd National Shooting Championships. The Commonwealth and Youth Olympic Games champion won one gold medal each in the women's 10-metre air pistol senior and junior events. In the final of the senior event, she shot 243 while in the junior section, Bhaker shot 241.
Last November, Bhaker fired her way to the gold medal with a junior world record in the women's 10m air pistol event of the prestigious World Cup Finals in Putian, China, ending the year's international commitments on a rousing note.
Bhaker, one of the 15 India shooters to have secured quota places for the 2020 Olympics, is keen to shoot in both the 10m and 25m pistol events at the Games, provided she makes the final squad.
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