Srinagar, Jan 6: Outgoing Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said it was a "great pity" that athletes feel they have to "lobby" and "jostle with each other" for Padma awards.
Omar's comments came after boxer Vijender Singh today asked the Boxing Federation to recommend his name to the Sports Ministry for Padma Bhushan.
The ministry recently decided to recommend ace shuttler Saina Nehwal's name for the Padma Bhushan award following a controversy over the issue.
"There is something rather off putting seeing our most accomplished sportspersons jostling each other to jump the "Padma" award queue," Omar, an avid sports buff, wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.com.
Omar said merit should be the only criterion to decide who gets the awards. "It's a great pity that our athletes feel they have to lobby for the award", said outgoing Chief Minister.
Earlier after Saina Nehwal, star boxer Vijender Singh also threw his hat in the ring for the civilian honour but insisted he won't be "hurt" in case of a rejection. Speaking to PTI, Vijender said he preferably wants two-time Olympic medal winning wrestler Sushil Kumar to get the honour, as originally recommended by the Sports Ministry. But in case, one more sportsperson is taken into consideration following Saina's late application, then the Ministry might as well give his name a thought as well.