Every year when national sports awards are finalized,those Indian stars who get nominated are satisfied while those who missed out get dejected and many also turned to social media for showing their frustration.This has been going on for the past few years.To rectify this system,Sports Ministry this year made changes to selection commitee nominating these awards.Former sportspersons such as Bhaichung Bhutia,Anju Bobby George,Anjum Chopra and Kamlesh Mehta were part of 12 member panel which surprisingly also included six time world champion boxer M C Mary Kom who is still active.She did not attend the final day proceedings because her coach Chhote Lal Yadav was recommended for Dronacharya award.Due to conflict of interest it was a good gesture on her part.
Let us see the winners in brief.
It was relief for Bajrang Punia as he finally got his due.Last year he threatened to move court after the ministry denied him the coveted award.Commonweath and Asian Games gold medallist Bajrang became world no.1 in 65kg freestyle wrestling.So this year much was on expected lines as he won Khel Ratna.2016 Rio Paralympics silver medallist Deepa Malik along with Bajrang will get highest sporting honour on August 29th in the capital.
Total of 19 Indian sportspersons received Arjuna Award this year.This list includes Tejinderpal Singh Toor,Mohammad Anas in athletics,Cricketers Ravindra Jadeja and Poonam Yadav,wrestler Pooja Dhanda,paddler Harmeet Desai,shuttler B Sai Praneeth,Kabbadi star Ajay Thakur,equestrian player Fouzad Mirza are among the few who have won Arjuna awards for their contribution in respective fields in the year 2018.There was not much criticism after these awards were announced except by H S Prannoy who heavily came against the system.Prannoy said performance is least considered in the country and you need people who will help to include your name in the list for these awards.
Badminton coach Vimal Kumar’s name for Dronacharya award was expected.Sandeep Gupta also won for his contribution in producing young table tennis stars for India.
Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra slammed selection commitee for ignoring Jaspal Rana for Dronacharya this year.Rana has grommed young and champion shooters like Manu Bhaker,Sourabh Chaudhary and Anish Bhanwala.
Dronacharya Life Time
Merzban Patel who trains children in Mumbai won Dronacharya for Life Time achievement in hockey.He has given India many hockey hopefuls like Devinder and Yuvraj Walmiki.
So unlike previous years,the system has improved a lot with the inclusion of former sportspersons in the panel.However,more needs to be done in terms of qualification criteria,monetary benefits,early nomination of results.
Finally congrats to all the award winners and hope it improves our sports culture.
This article is compiled by Shailesh Padhye for Sportsnasha.com