New Delhi: The 2012 London Paralympics silver medallist Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda on Wednesday expressed his dissatisfaction over the manner in which Sania Mirza was recommended for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna.
"Going by the ministry's performance-based points system introduced to pick the award winner, I'm the top contender with 90 points. But Sania does not figure anywhere near the top," the 27-year-old was quoted by the Times of India.
"I understand Sania has won Grand Slam titles but according to the ministry notification, only performances at the Olympics, Paralympics, Asiad, Commonwealth Games and World Championships from 2011 will be considered," Hassan-born high jumper added.
Girisha is the first Indian to win a medal in high jumper in the paralympics, the feat which he achieved in 2012 London Paralympics. For a glittering career, he has been honoured with Padma Shri and Arjuna awards.
"This is injustice. Instead of considering me, they've decided to ignore it and reward Sania. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was the CM of Gujarat in 2012, was the first to congratulate me when I won the silver in London. It's sad that despite knowing my performances, the Modi-led government has not considered me for the award," Girisha said.
Girisha also cited how the government awarded India's highest sporting honour to Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni in 2008.
"If my performances from 2011 were not considered, then why did they honour me with the Padma Shri before giving me the Arjuna Award? In 2013 when I applied for the Khel Ratna I was informed that I have to win the Arjuna to be eligible for this award. If that's the norm, how did they give MS Dhoni the Khel Ratna in 2007-08?" he asked.
On Tuesday, Mirza – currently ranked world number one in women's doubles – was recommended for the prestigious award by Sports Ministry-constituted awards committee headed by Justice V K Bali, the retired Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court.
The 28-year-old, who has won three mixed doubles Grand Slams in her career, beat competition from squash player Deepika Pallikal, discus thrower Vikas Gowda, track and field star Tintu Luka, rising shuttler P V Sindhu, and hockey captain Sardar Singh for the coveted honour.