Indian wrestler Vinesh Phogat, who is one of India’s biggest medal hopes at the upcoming Olympics, questioned the ‘unfair’ process of selecting Padma awardees after the government announced the list a day before the 71st Republic Day.
Phogat, who was not on the list for a third time, took a dig at the government for leaving out ‘deserving’ candidates and questioned who decided the awardees.
“Every year our government awards several sportspersons. This award serves as great encouragement for sports and for athletes to continue chasing excellence but is also seen that numerous times, this awards don’t honour current achievements or instances of sporting success in the recent past,” said Phogat, in a statement that was tweeted.
“It’s almost like the deserving get left out each time. This has become a pattern. The 2020 Awards list is no different. Who decides who shall be awarded? Are there current or former athletes in the jury? How does it even work? At the end it all just seems slightly unfair,” she said. Phogat received the Arjuna Award in 2016
— Vinesh Phogat (@Phogat_Vinesh) January 26, 2020
Earlier this month, Vinesh defeated Ecuador’s Luisa Elizabeth Melendres 4-0 in the final (53 kg) of Rome Ranking series to win her first gold medal of the 2020 season. In September 2019, she pinned two-time Worlds medallist Maria Prevolaraki of Greece to clinch the bronze medal in the 53-kg category in the World Wrestling Championships in Kazakhstan. She had conceded a 0-1 lead but then held her opponent down long enough for her to be awarded the match with a 4-1 scoreline.
Six-time World Champion and Olympic medallist MC Mary Kom was conferred the second-highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan, while former national women’s football captain Bem Bem Devi will receive the Padma Shri.
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