Ministry clears only Sodhi for Khel Ratna

New Delhi, Aug 22 (IANS) Union Sports Minister Jitendra Singh found time from his busy schedule and cleared the national sports awards file Thursday without making any changes in the list finalised by the committee headed by former World billiards champion Michael Ferreira.

Double-trap shooter Ronjan Sodhi will be getting the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the highest sports awards in the country. World championship bronze medal winning shuttler P.V.Sindhu and cricketer Virat Kohli are among the 14 sportspersons selected for the Arjuna.

The decision puts to rest all speculation that the minister had asked the awards committee to reconsider female discus thrower Krishna Poonia, also a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, for the award.

It was also for the third consecutive year that a shooter was picked for the the Khel Ratna.

Sodhi is the seventh shooter after Abhinav Bindra (2001-02), Anjali Bhagwat (2002-03), Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (2004-05), Manavjit Singh Sandhu (2006-07), Gagan Narang (2010-11) and Vijay Kumar (2011-12) to get the Khel Ratna.

Sports Secretary Pradip Kumar Deb told IANS that no changes have been effected in the recommendations made earlier this month by the committee.

The official said the announcement was delayed by a couple of days since Poonia and paralympian H.N. Girisha had conveyed their grievances to the sports ministry after they were left out.

"We looked into their grievances and that was the reason why we delayed the announcement of the awards. But we found that only one sportsperson can get the award (Khel Ratna)," said Deb.

The awards were to be announced Monday, but the sports minister was apparently busy with parliament's monsoon session and also the party affairs he has been entrusted by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and could not clear the file.

The awards will be given Aug 31 instead of National Sports Day - Aug 29 - as the minister, who is also a minister of state for defence, will be busy with the Asian Defence Minister's Conference in Brunei.

The delay led to lot of bad blood between the award winner and the other claimant - some of the committee members were also dragged into the unseemly media debate.

Two members of the committee were livid that it has become a fashion for athletes to question the decisions taken by eminent sports persons after taking into account all the available material of a claimant.

Both discounted the speculative media stories, giving the sequence of events before deciding on the Khel Ratna award. They said all names were on the table when they met to take the decision.

Both insisted that no member should divulge what transpired at the meeting when everything discussed or spoken there was confidential.

"The discussions are healthy and every member applies his or her mind and there could be even vehement disagreements. But what is important is the decision taken at the end of it all," one member told IANS refusing to divulge the nature of deliberations at the meeting.

"The decision has been taken and there has to be some sanctity about it. It is ridiculous for anyone to speculate or try to reopen the issue just because someone doesn't like it."

Another highly respected member of the committee felt that the media, too, should not read too much into the deliberations once a decision is taken. It doesn't matter what a particular individual said at the meeting.

"It doesn't matter what a member said at the meeting, ultimately the decision taken is what matters, not who thundered or who dissented. It is akin to a cabinet decision, not what transpired at the discussions stage," the member said.

Full award list:

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna: Ronjan Sodhi

Arjuna Awards:

Chekrovolu Swuro (Archery)

Renjith Maheshwary (Athletics)

P.V. Sindhu (Badminton)

Kavita Chahal (Boxing)

Rupesh Shah (Snooker and Billiards)

Virat Kohli (Cricket)

Abhijeet Gupta (Chess)

Gaganjeet Bhullar (Golf)

Saba Anjum (Hockey)

Rajkumari Rathore (Shooting)

Joshna Chinappa (Squash)

Neha Rathi (Wrestling)

Dharmender Dalal (Wrestling)

Amit Kumar Saroha (Athletics)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

Pietersen to miss Delhi's first game

Pietersen to miss Delhi's first game

The former England batsman will have to lead the franchise as he is out of the match against Bangalore with a finger injury. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Michael Klinger has revealed he felt compelled to leave South Australia after being told he would be only a fringe part of the Redbacks' plans for next season, and disputed the suggestion that he left… More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

The revival of Indo-Pak Test ties could take place in UAE. More »

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

'This time around we will hope to go few more steps ahead and actually get that trophy' More »

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Apart from the foreign players a lot of behind-the-scene activity has taken place in selecting the Indian domestic players. More »

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Leading Spanish club Atletico Madrid and former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are among the owners of eight franchises of a new Indian… More »

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

Kiwi all-rounder wants to utilise the India leg to explore the country’s tourist attractions. More »

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Says his mother made him change his mind. More »