After Arjuna snub, shuttler Prannoy hits out at how awards are managed

India’s star shuttler HS Prannoy is angry. In fact, very angry and upset at finding his name missing from the list of sportspersons who will be conferred the Arjuna award in 2019. In a tweet that reflects what he thinks of the sporting fraternity, culture and administration, Prannoy has blown the lid off the manner in which awards are managed. 

“If you ever want your name in the Awards list, make sure you have people who will get your name to the list. Performance is least considered in our country. Sad state of our country but can’t help it. Let go and just play until you can,” Prannoy tweeted. 

The Kerala player trains at the Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad and along with Kidambi Srikanth and Sai Praneeth, has been one of the mainstays of the Indian men’s badminton challenge at the international level. Both Prannoy and doubles player Manu Attri were also recommended by the Badminton Association of India along with Praneeth but only the latter made the cut. 

PTI quotes an unnamed BAI source who claimed Prannoy’s recommendation for the Arjuna award had gone late. That is a ridiculous claim to make because the BAI would send all the names together. A decision on who to recommend takes place at a formal meeting and not in bits and pieces. 

Prannoy also pointed out that he was in the top 8 last year. He had also won a gold in the mixed team event in the 2018 Commonwealth Games. He also won a bronze medal at the 2018 Asian championship. These are the titles for which weightage is given for the Arjuna award. But what is now also being pointed out that the player should have consistent performance over the past four years. Here too, though a National title strangely does not figure in the list of championships as a yardstick for the award, Prannoy won the title in 2017. 

Prannoy’s outburst is reminiscent of how fellow shuttler Jwala Gutta reacted in 2017 when she was overlooked for the Padma awards. The doubles player wrote : “I have been playing for this country for more than 15 years now and have won so many prestigious tournaments. I thought maybe I should apply but I guess it’s never enough. You need recommendations, recommendations that you deserve an award. You need to put in a word and get letters and the list goes on and on.”

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