Changing the traditional way of selecting winners of the National Sports Awards for coaches and athletes, this year, a single-12-member panel is assigned to undertake the task. The panel includes six-time world champion boxer Mary Kom, and former football captain Bhaichung Bhutia. The awards will be given on August 29, which is the National Sports Day.  The day marks the birth anniversary of the hockey wizard Major Dhyanchand.

Mary Kom is also the Member of Parliament (MP) and it is only at her name that fingers are being raised by many, since she is still an active athlete.

“This year we are trying out a new idea of one selection committee for all the awards. We feel too many committees are unnecessary as they only make things difficult and create controversies,” a Sports Ministry source told PTI.

Members Of The Selection Panel

The 12-member committee is headed by Supreme Court judge Justice (Retd) Mukundakam Sharma and comprises Sports Secretary Radhey Shyam Jhulaniya, Sports Authority of India Director General Sandeep Pradhan, Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) CEO Commander Rajesh Rajagopalan, Mary Kom, Bhutia, ex-women’s cricket team captain Anjum Chopra, celebrated former long-jumper Anju Bobby George and table tennis coach Kamlesh Mehta among others.

Unlike the previous editions of the awards, this will be the first time that the winners will be handpicked by the 12-member panel for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna Award, Dronacharya Award (for coaches), Dhyan Chand Award (lifetime achievement) and Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Award.

Fingers Being Raised On Mary Kom’s Selection In The Panel

“We’ve no problem with the government trying out a new idea of one selection committee for all awards. But this is a clear case of conflict of interest with an active athlete being named in it,” was how a former Olympic boxer told DNA on Thursday. Mary Kom is also the Member of Parliament (MP) and it is only at her name that fingers are being raised by many.

The 36-year-old has an 18-year long illustrious career, with seven World Championships, an Olympic bronze medal, and five Asian Championships to show.  “After 2020, I want to retire. So my main mission is to get gold for India. I really really want to win (gold),” Mary Kom said at an event. In her nearly two-decades-long illustrious career, Mary became the most successful boxer in world championships’ history when she claimed the 48 kg category top honours in November last year in Delhi. The mother of three has won gold at prestigious events — the Commonwealth Games, India Open Boxing Tournament and now the World Championships. This time too, the six-time world champion is India’s biggest medal hope. In the 2012 Olympics, she became India’s first woman boxer to clinch an Olympic medal. Now, the 36-year-old is looking forward to her 2020 Olympic dream, and her punches are becoming stronger than ever.

Also, there is skepticism as to how only one single committee will be able to scrutinise so many application within a week’s time, as they are expecting to finalise the result by the end of the next week. The first meeting of the committee will be held early in the next week.

Picture Credit: SportsKeeda

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