Recipients of Arjuna and Dronacharya awards finalized
The list of Arjuna Award winners of this year has been retained by the Sports Ministry. However, they have dropped the name of para-sports coach Satyanarayana, due to a pending criminal case, from the Dronacharya awardees. Ace tennis player Rohan Bopanna and weightlifter Sanjita Chanu remain neglected for the Arjuna Awards. Deepa Malik, as well, will not be considered for the Khel Ratna.
On Friday, after Sports Minister Vijay Goel cleared the file, the emails were sent out to the winners. 17 names were recommended by the panel appointed by the Ministry for Arjuna Awards. They nominated Rio Paralympics gold medallist Devendra Jhajharia and former hockey player Sardar Singh for Khel Ratna. Goel had the discretion to include names himself but decided to approve the panel's recommendations.
After the initial list of awardees was released, there was a lot of debate regarding the athletes who have been left out, thus, questioning the decision. Despite the request for including Paralympian Deepa Malik for Khel Ratna, the ministry stuck to the recommendations of the panel. Bopanna, whose nomination by the All India Tennis Association reached the ministry late, was not included as well.
Referring to a defamation case against the coach, an official told PTI, "Yes, we have chucked off the name of Satyanarayana since he has a case pending against him." Satyanarayana coached Thangavelu, who won a gold medal at the Rio Paralympics. He was on the initial list of Arjuna awardees but several people had raised objections.