Bajrang Punia had 80 points to his name, far more than Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli's 'zero' and current weightlifting world champion Mirabai Chanu's 44, who have been named for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award 2018 by the 11-member selection team, The Times of India (ToI) reported.
Controversy broke out over the award on Thursday when Asian Games 2018 and Commonwealth Games 2018 gold medallist, Bajrang Punia questioned the selection criteria for the country's highest sporting honour.
"I'm hurt for not being recognised for my talent and performances, I don't know what was the criteria of selection for this award," Punia told reporters.
According to the ToI report, Kohli had no points on his performance sheet as cricket is not an Olympic sport and hence there are no criteria in place for allotting points in the sport. Similarly, at least six other athletes had more points than Chanu.
In the current system, points are allotted to athletes for their achievements in international events. But there's no such system for cricket as it is not an Olympic sport. Cricketers are selected for the award through consensus in the panel and Kohli's name too, was finalised through a show of hands where eight out of 11 members of the panel supported Kohli's candidature, the ToI report said.
ToI in its report referred to a document which provides a break-up of points awarded to 17 shortlisted athletes for the Khel Ratna 2018 and included para-athlete Deepa Malik with 78.4 points, table tennis player Manika Batra with 65 points, boxer Vikas Krishnan with 52 points and archer Abhishek Verma with 55.3 points.
Meanwhile, Punia met Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on Friday to enquire about the matter. He also threatened to move to court against his name being overlooked for the award, ToI reported.
With agency inputs