Sports Ministry rejects Saina Nehwal's application for Padma Bhushan
New Delhi: Olympic bronze-medallist Saina Nehwal has been left disappointed after the sports ministry decided to reject her application for the Padma Bhushan award this year, citing norms.
Badminton Association of India (BAI) had recommended Saina’s name for the award in August last year, but the ministry picked two-time Olympic medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar as it felt he was a more deserving candidate.
“I heard that Sushil Kumar’s name was sent for Padma award as a special case, while my name was not sent to ministry of home affairs by sports ministry. The ministry guidelines says that there needs to be a gap of five years between two Padma awards. So if they can send his name, why they didn’t recommend my name?,” Saina asked. The 24-year-old claimed that her application was rejected last year also.
“Last year when I sent my file for the Padma Bhushan award, the ministry said ‘No Saina you can’t apply this year because you have to complete five years for this”. So I applied this year for the award. Why was my name not recommended this year?” she asked.
Our correspondent adds: “I have nothing against Sushil winning the award. He is a great athlete and his achievements for the country fully justify the honour. He is also a good friend. I have, in fact, spoken to him to ensure there are no misunderstandings over what I have to say on the matter.
My problem is only with the fact that my name was never considered. If both our names had been forwarded, then we both would have been given the award.”