The bumbling ways of Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF), already under suspension by the sports ministry and facing harsh criticism from the international community, has ensured that one talented pugilist will not be in the reckoning for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award.
Feeling terribly let down that she has been overlooked for the country's highest sporting honour, five-time Asian Championship gold medallist Sarita Devi said on Tuesday: "After hearing this kind of news, it's really hard to motivate myself. How long do I have to prove myself for Khel Ratna?"
"I want to win a medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. But for the moment, I am working hard for Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Championships scheduled later this year, even leaving my son with my mother so that I can concentrate on the goals ahead."
Staying away from her one-year-old son is difficult. But Devi has been doing it for the sake of winning more medals for India in the upcoming international tournaments.
Unfortunate to have missed the London Olympics medal, Devi is considered in the same league as the other champion pugilist and Olympian MC Mary Kom by the boxing fraternity.
Apparently, Devi is suffering because, in the wake of Indian Amateur Boxing Federation's suspension, she was unaware that she herself had to submit the application for the Khel Ratna.
"The Federation (IABF) should have informed us about where we needed to send our application. Sarita completely deserves this award and it was the federation's responsibility to recommend her name on its own," Thoiba Singh, Devi's husband, informed dna.
So, what's next for Devi?
"We are going to approach the top Indian Olympic Association (IOA) officials, who have appointed the ad-hoc committee to run IABF affairs, with the request to recommend Sarita's name for the award. In case there is no response soon then, sports ministry is our final hope," he added.
As per the top ministry sources, it has received names like PV Sindhu (badminton), Somdev Devvarman (tennis), Jeev Milkha Singh (golf), Krishna Poonia and Vikas Gowda (athletics), and Devendra Jhajaria (para athletics) for the Khel Ratna award this year.