Sapped Sania Mirza faces another court battle

DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Aug 27, 2015, 7:33 am IST
Updated Mar 28, 2019, 1:36 am IST
Sania has flown down from the US specially to receive Khel Ratna Award

Hyderabad: Karnataka Paralympian H.N. Girisha’s challenge, and the subsequent Karnataka High Court’s issuing of notices to the Sports Ministry and Sania Mirza on her Khel Ratna, has caused a cloud of confusion to swirl around the nation’s highest sporting award. 

Girisha’s contention is that he is better qualified strictly taking into account the Ministry’s guidelines on allocation of points for the athletes based on which the award is decided. 

 

If one were to take a by-the-book view of the allocation of points, tennis loses some serious ground as importance is only given to medals won in quadrennial, biennial or annual World Championships, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, Asian and Commonwealth Champ-ionships over a period of four years. 

Apart from the Asian and Commonwealth Games, tennis does not meet any of the other criteria. Understandably piqued, Sania didn’t want to comment until a decision has been taken in this matter. Sania has flown down from the US specially to receive the Award from President of India Pranab Mukherjee on August 29. 

 

According to Ministry guildelines, a weightage of 90 per cent will be given to the points accrued by a sportsperson and the other 10 per cent is discretionary, and will be decided by the Awards Selection Committee “for assessment of eligible sportspersons keeping in view factors like profile and standard of sports events in which he or she has won medals and qualities like leadership, sportsmanship, team spirit, fair play and a sense of discipline.”

Also, “Equivalence of any other sports discipline or tournament, not listed, will be decided by the Selection Committee with reference to the six categories of sports tournaments and points will be allotted accordingly.”

 

While this might tilt the balance in Sania’s favour, the other 90 per cent, if decided purely on the basis of the points’ system, is where she might be shortchanged as it doesn’t take into account her brilliant run over the last year, including a maiden Wimbledon title and achieving the World No.1 rank in women’s doubles. 

However, Girisha, a Paralympic Games medallist who claims he has 90 points, could be hamstrung by another clause in the guidelines which states: “Winners in Olympics and Paralympics will automatically be considered for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna or Arjuna Awards, depending on the medal won, if they have already not been conferred with either of the two Awards.”

 

It was on the basis of his achievements at the Paralympics that Girisha was conferred with an Arjuna award last year, and that might just prove to be the point on which this whole issue will likely turn. 

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