India’s leading table tennis player Sharath Kamal, who did not make the list for the Padma Shri award, the country’s fourth-highest civilian honour, stated on Monday that the existing awards application system made the athletes beg for the honour, PTI reported.

“You need multiple recommendation letters from various quarters in the government, the more they are, the better your chances of getting the award,” Kamal said.

“It is disappointing as an athlete when you know you have done better than some athletes who have been chosen. Like it was the case this year,” added the two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist.

“Most who have been picked are deserving but some of them are not. And when that happens, you feel disheartened as an athlete,”

“What was more even more shocking that somebody like a Pankaj Advani, who has won so many world titles, was overlooked for the Padma Bhushan again,” added Kamal, currently ranked 59th in the world.