January 4, 2014 12:34:18 am
In a bid to improve transparency and do away with lobbying,factors that dent the image of the coveted national sports awards,the sports ministry has introduced new criteria for giving away Arjuna Awards this year onwards.
The ministry has decided to grant 90 per cent weightage to medal winners of various international championships and sports events of disciplines covered in Olympics (Summer,Winter and Paralympics),Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.
According to a sports ministry release,the winners of medals in Olympics and Paralympics will automatically be considered for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna or Arjuna Awards,depending on the type of medal won and whether the sportspersons have already been conferred with either of the two honours. After Olympics,the maximum weightage will be given to World Championship/World Cup (once in four years),followed by Asian Games and Commonwealth Games,it added.
While 90 marks will be given to the sportspersons getting maximum points in the World Championship/ World Cup,the rest of the sportspersons will be given marks proportionately to that athlete’s medal. Meanwhile,10 per cent weightage will be given to the marks awarded by the selection committee for assessment of the sportsperson,keeping in view factors like profile and standard of the sports events in which he or she has won medals and qualities like leadership,sportsmanship,team spirit,fair play and sense of discipline,a statement said.
Sports secretary Ajit Sharan said the new criteria will ensure total transparency. After the controversies over the awards last year,we decided something had to be done to ensure such things are not repeated. The marking system will ensure there is total transparency and objectivity, Sharan said.
For cricket and indigenous games,not included in Olympics,Asian Games or Commonwealth Games,the selection committee will recommend the number of awards (not exceeding two) to be given,besides recommending the sportspersons after taking into consideration their individual performances and qualities of sportsman spirit,leadership,discipline etc. Normally not more than 15 awards could be given in any calendar year. However,keeping in view the performance of athletes in the events mentioned,the selection committee could recommend more sportspersons for Arjuna award.
Sharan acknowledged the system is not fool-proof but hoped the new rules will reduce intense lobbying which precedes every award. In an embarrassment to the government,triple-jumper Maheswary was selected for the Arjuna Award last year.
However,they had to take back the award after it emerged through media reports that he had failed a dope test in the past,which made him ineligible for the award. To avoid a repeat,the ministry has also decided to have two-layered background checks of nominations. When submitting the papers,the concerned national federation will have to certify the athlete has a clean record. Subsequently,the jury will run an independent check of doping violations.
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