The Sports Ministry on Friday decided not to include Olympic bronze medal-winning wrestler Sakshi Malik and former weightlifting world champion Mirabai Chanu is the list of Arjuna Award winners for 2020.
The Arjuna Awardees count went from 29 to 27 while the sports ministry accepted an unprecedented five recommendations Khel Ratna. The reason being, the two who were left out, had already won the highest sporting honour there is, in 2016 and 2018, respectively.
But it is an explanation that has not gone down very well with Rio Olympics bronze-medallist Sakshi Malik. She took to Twitter and wrote a message to PM Narendra Modi and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, seeking answers to her questions.
The 27-year-old started the letter off by saying that all athletes dream of winning every possible medal they can lay their hands on.
“Respected Prime Minister Narendra Modi and respected Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju. I have been honoured by the Khel Ratna and I am proud of it. Every sportsperson dreams of winning all the awards),” Sakshi wrote.
She added: “A sportsperson puts her life at risk for it. I also dream of seeing Arjuna award winner against my name. What more medals do I get for the country that I will be honoured with the Arjuna award. Or in this wrestling life, I would never have the good luck of winning this award?”
Sakshi, who was the first woman wrestler to win an Olympic medal, had received Padma Shri in 2017.
“So does this mean I should only play in Olympics, not in commonwealth games, Asian games, because I have an olympic medal? What is this logic that if you have won the Khel Ratna you cannot win Arjuna? Every award has its own different value and I also want to win every award. I am disappointed as it’s my right to get the Arjuna award,” Sakshi is quoted as saying by Times Now.
Sakshi Malik's results since bronze at Rio 2016
|Date||Competition||Style||Age Group||Weight Class||Country||Rank|
|2020-02-18||Asian Championship||Female wrestling||Seniors||65.0||IND||2.|
|2019-09-16||World Championship||Female wrestling||Seniors||62.0||IND||17.|
|2019-08-09||Alexander Medved Prizes||Female wrestling||Seniors||62.0||IND||3.|
|2019-07-11||RS - Yasar Dogu||Female wrestling||Seniors||62.0||IND||7.|
|2019-05-23||RS - City of Sassari Tournament||Female wrestling||Seniors||62.0||IND||12.|
|2019-04-23||Asian Championship||Female wrestling||Seniors||62.0||IND||3.|
|2019-03-31||Beat the Streets||Female wrestling||Seniors||62.0||IND||2.|
|2019-03-01||RS - Dan Kolov - Nikola Petrov Tournamen||Female wrestling||Seniors||65.0||IND||2.|
|2019-01-09||Pro Wrestling League||Multiple Style Event||Seniors||Team||IND||3.|
|2018-10-22||World Championship||Female wrestling||Seniors||62.0||IND||12.|
|2018-09-14||RS - Alexander Medved Prizes||Female wrestling||Seniors||62.0||IND||2.|
|2018-08-27||Asian Games||Female wrestling||Seniors||62.0||IND||5.|
|2018-04-12||Commonwealth Games||Female wrestling||Seniors||62.0||IND||3.|
|2018-02-27||Asian Championship||Female wrestling||Seniors||62.0||IND||3.|
|2018-01-09||Pro Wrestling League||Multiple Style Event||Seniors||Team||IND||5.|
|2017-12-15||Commonwealth Championship||Female wrestling||Seniors||62.0||IND||1.|
|2017-08-23||World Championship||Female wrestling||Seniors||60.0||IND||14.|
|2017-05-11||Asian Championship||Female wrestling||Seniors||60.0||IND||2.|
|2017-01-02||Pro Wrestling League||Multiple Style Event||Seniors||team||IND||5.|
Last week, the Justice (retd) Mukundakam Sharma-led selection committee had recommended 29 names for the Arjuna Award to the Sports Ministry.
The list also included Rio Olympics bronze medal-winning wrestler Sakshi and 2017 weightlifting world champion Mirabai, but the decision on bestowing the Arjuna on them was left to the discretion of Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, reported PTI.
In a first, the awards will be held virtually on August 29, the National Sports Day, instead of the Rashtrapati Bhavan this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
(With PTI inputs)