Poonia asked me to recommend her name for Khel Ratna, says Anjali Bhagwat

Updated: Aug 21, 2013, 18:19 PM IST

New Delhi: Ace shooter and Khel Ratna selection panel member Anjali Bhagwat on Wednesday revealed that discus thrower Krishna Poonia had called her to lobby for the top honour just a day before the committee met.

"She (Poonia) called me and asked me to recommend her name for the Khel Ratna award the day before the panel met," Bhagwat said.

A miffed Bhagwat said it was not right on Poonia`s part to claim that it was she who got the list changed at the last moment to include Double trap World Champion Ronjan Sodhi`s name in place the discus thrower.

"It was very cheap on Poonia`s part to publicly say that I was the one who had got the list changed," she added.

Sodhi`s name was recommended for the Khel Ratna award last week, sparking a controversy with some members of the panel questioning the process of his selection.

It was learnt that Sodhi`s name was not there when the majority of members decided to vote for the Khel Ratna awardee.

A selection panel member had said that Poonia and London Paralympics silver medallist H N Girisha were shortlisted for voting by 11 out of 12 selection panel members and Sodhi`s name was not considered initially.

According to reports, the scenario, however, changed after Bhagwat came in late for the meeting and Girisha`s name was removed. Eventually the voting was for the selection of either Sodhi and Poonia.

After the chorus for considering Poonia`s name for the Khel Ratna grew, Sports Minister Jitendra Singh had meetings with his secretary P K Deb to discuss the matter.

But the Ministry clearly indicated that there will not be any change in the original list of awardees.