Archery coach Jiwanjot Singh Teja was on Wednesday dropped from the list of Dronacharya award nominees due to a past case of indiscipline while the Sports Ministry cleared all athletes recommended by the selection committee for Khel Ratna, Arjuna and Dhyan Chand awards.
Teja was among five coaches named by the selection committee for Dronacharya award on Sunday but it came to light that he had served a one-year ban following an incident of indiscipline during the 2015 World University Games in Korea.
“Teja had served a ban of one year for indiscipline after an incident that happened in 2015 during the World Universiade in Korea. He was the chief archery coach there and the women’s team under him could not reach on time for competition. India had to forfeit a match due to the late arrival,” said a source from the ministry.
“The Archery Association of India had banned him for one year for the incident. So, the minister has decided to drop him from the list of those recommended for Dronacharya award. All the other sportspersons recommended for Khel Ratna, Arjuna and Dhyan Chand have been cleared by the minister,” the source added.
SS Pannu (athletics), CA Kuttappa (boxing), Vijay Sharma (weightlifting) and A Srinivasa Rao (table tennis) were the others recommended for Dronacharya award.
An official of the AAI said it would be “injustice” to Teja if he was dropped on account of this incident that happened three years ago.
“It is true that Teja was banned by AAI after this 2015 incident but he has come out after serving that ban and since then he has produced results. It’s an injustice to him if he is dropped on the basis of this incident,” the AAI official said.
The Dronacharya is presented to coaches for their outstanding and meritorious work on a consistent basis over a period of four years. It comes with a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh.
Clarence Lobo (hockey), Tarak Sinha (cricket), Jiwan Kumar Sharma (judo) and VR Beedu (athletics) were recommended for Dronacharya award in the Life Time category.
Satyadev Prasad (archery), Bharat Chhetri (hockey), Bobby Aloysius and Chougale Dadu Dattatray (wrestling) were named for Dhyan Chand award which is bestowed on athletes for life-time achievements and contribution to sport during their active career and post retirement.
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli and world champion weightlifter Mirabai Chanu were jointly recommended for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, while star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra was among 20 sportspersons picked for the Arjuna awards.
Besides Chopra, other prominent names recommended for Arjuna were junior world champion sprinter Hima Das and Asian Games gold-medallist middle distance runner Jinson Johnson, cricketer Smriti Mandhana, hockey players Manpreet Singh and Savita Punia, multiple Commonwealth Games gold-medallist table tennis star Manika Batra and Asiad doubles gold-medallist tennis player Rohan Bopanna.
The Khel Ratna awardees are entitled to a cash prize of Rs 7.5 lakh, while the Arjuna winners are given Rs 5 lakh.
President Ram Nath Kovind will present the awards on September 25 at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on September 25.
This year’s award ceremony was postponed to September 25 from the usual August 29 National Sports Day event due to clash of dates with the Asian Games in Indonesia.