Sania Mirza’s Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award has been stayed by Karnataka High Court on Wednesday after a plea from parlympian athlete, HN Girisha. HM Girisha, the Indian Paralympian who won silver at London 2012 Paralympian and bronze at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games for high-jump, had filed a petition with the court, expressing disappointment at being overlooked for India’s highest sporting honor.
“Going by the ministry’s performance-based points system introduced to pick the award winner, I’m the top contender with 90 points. But Sania does not figure anywhere near the top,” Girisha was reported as saying by the Times of India.
“I understand Sania has won Grand Slam titles but according to the ministry notification, only performances at the Olympics, Paralympics, Asiad, Commonwealth Games and World Championships from 2011 will be considered,” Girisha added in that TOI report.
Sania Mirza was recommended for the prestigious award after she scripted history by becoming the first Indian to clinch a women’s doubles Grand Slam when she partnered Swiss great Martina Hingis for the Wimbledon trophy earlier this year.
Sania is only the second tennis player after Leander Paes to be named for the top award. Paes had been bestowed the honour way back in 1996 after his bronze medal in the Atlanta Olympics.
The Khel Ratna and Arjuna awards – for which 17 athletes, including Rohit Sharma (cricket) and P R Sreejesh (hockey), Dipa Karmakar (gymnastics) have been recommended – are to be given away by the President Pranab Mukherjee on August 29, the National Sports Day.