New Delhi, Aug 22: Putting an end to all speculations, the Sports Ministry on Friday confirmed that it will stick to the original list of winners for the Khel Ratna and Arjuna awards thereby dashing discus thrower Krishna Poonia's hopes of getting country's highest sporting honour.
The Ministry also confirmed that in a rare move, the date of the national sports award function has been postponed from August 29 to August 31 due to Sports Minister Jitendra Singh's non-availability on the earlier date. Normally August 29, which is legendary Dhyan Chand's birthday is celebrated as 'National Sports Day' and all the government sports awards are presented on that very day.
Deb said the reason for the delay in announcing the list of awardees was because the Minister was looking into the grievances made by Poonia and London Paralympics silver medalist H N Girisha after their names were left out from the list of recommendations made by the selection panel.
"We were looking into all the complaints and the grievances of some athletes and that was the reason why we delayed the announcement of the awards," he said.
After the chorus for considering Poonia's name for the Khel Ratna grew, Jitendra held a number of meetings with his Secretary to arrive at a final decision, even as the Ministry continued to indicate that there would be no change in either the name recommended for the Khel Ratna award or the initial 15 names of sports persons nominated for the Arjuna awards.