Sports Ministry explains why Virat Kohli was preferred for Khel Ratna over Bajrang Punia

Kohli along with weightlifter Mirabai Chanu will receive the Khel Ratna by President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on Tuesday.

Virat Kohli | Getty

India’s Sports Ministry has given a clarification for choosing national cricket captain Virat Kohli for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award over Asian Games gold medallist wrestler Bajrang Punia.

After the announcement of this esteemed honor, Bajrang had expressed his displeasure at being ignored by the Sports Ministry even after clinching the gold medal at Commonwealth Games as well as the Asian Games.

In fact, Punia met with Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on Thursday (September 21) to question him about the state of affairs. However, he did not receive a positive feedback.

However, Sports Ministry took to Twitter and explained the whole criteria for the selection process of Khel Ratna award.

“Point system is used to differentiate athletes within given sport, not athletes representing diff sports. Virat Kohli is the top-ranked cricketer in 2 out of 3 ICC formats & Mirabai Chanu is only Indian who's currently a world champion in an Olympic sport,” The official page of Sports Ministry tweeted.

On Friday (September 22), it was revealed that Kohli along with weightlifter Mirabai Chanu will receive the Khel Ratna award by President Ram Nath Kovind at a specially organized function at the Rashtrapati Bhawan next week.

Soon after the news surfaced in media, Bajrang Punia lambasted the government for overlooking his accomplishment in recent times.

"He [Sports Minister] said I didn't have enough points which is wrong. I have garnered more points than the two (Virat Kohli and Mirabai Chanu) who were nominated. I have been wronged. I want justice. The Minister said he will look into the matter but there is hardly any time left for the award function," Bajrang told PTI.

This year’s Khel Ratna awards and Arjuna Awards committee was led by a retired Delhi high court judge Justice Indermeet Kaul Kochhar and had former sportspersons Ashwini Nachappa, Kamlesh Mehta, Samresh Jung, and Vimal Kumar as members, among others.

(With PTI inputs)


By Salman Anjum - 23 Sep, 2018

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