Pugilist Manoj Kumar has filed a case at the Delhi High Court against the Arjuna Award selection committee after being sidelined over non-selection for the coveted Arjuna Award. The 2010 Commonwealth Games medalist has been clearly overlooked and the case, which is in court, is set to come up for hearing on Tuesday.
The 20-year-old boxer felt "insulted" after his name was omitted from this year’s list of Arjuna awardees, and he filed a petition against the Sports Ministry, Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the Arjuna Award committee.
It is believed that the pugilist had threatened to sue the Sports Ministry for the "injustice" meted out to him.
After Kumar raised hue and cry against the controversial recommendation and selection of fellow boxer Jai Bhagwan for the prestigious award, the selection committee did review its 15-athlete list on August 19, but it was a futile attempt as no changes were made.
According to a Zee Media report, the Sports Authority of India Director General Jiji Thomson, a part of this committee, said that the panel had discussed seven athletes but felt no need to make further modifications.
In a PTI report, Kumar claimed that he was personally assured by the sports secretary and Thomson that his name would be included, and the committee's U-turn was a "betrayal".
Kumar was miffed all the more when his elder brother and coach Rajesh Kumar had been given assurance by the SAI Director General that his name would be considered and there would be no injustice. In the past too his image was tarnished after he was wrongly accused as a dope offender by the ministry, something even the sports secretary admitted during the Commonwealth Games 2010. Kumar, who is currently training in the national camp at NIS where he is preparing for his Asian Games trial to be held next week, claims to be under severe mental stress.
Kumar's coach wondered how Thomson could claim that he has time with him and can get the award later on. "How can it be? He (Manoj) won a gold in the 2010 Commonwealth Games and this achievement will not be considered for next year's Arjuna Award as only four-year achievements are counted. Next year's Arjuna will start counting achievements from 2011 onwards," he said.
Rajesh also said Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had through his personal secretary assured that the officials who made the mistake of taking him as a dope offender will be taken to task, but this was nothing but 'talks in the air'.