Stringent, transparent norms for national sports awards


New Delhi : The sports ministry Wednesday made sweeping changes in the process of selection for national sports awards, making the norms more stringent and transparent. At the same time, the government has arrogated to itself the right to nominate “a deserving sportsperson or a coach left out in the past.”

Support TwoCircles

Besides removing restriction of time frame for consideration of certain awards, the department of sports has also issued a caveat that it could verify character and antecedents of the recommended awardees and even opt for their police verification.

The government, on the recommendations of a committee, has decided to award only one Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna with a proviso to increase the number in “exceptional” cases like Olympic medal winners.

“The government will have the right to nominate any deserving sportsperson or coach, who were left out in the past, in all categories of national sports awards,” the ministry said in a statement.

“To ensure that only the sportspersons with a clean record are nominated, the nomination authority will now have to certify in the nomination forms that the nominees are clear from vigilance or disciplinary cases and are not involved in acts of criminal and moral turpitude nature.”

“After selection committee has made its recommendations, the ministry may ask the Sports Authority of India to carry out verification of character and antecedents of the recommended awardees through its regional centres, if need be, by taking help of police authorities,” the ministry said.

The rule of one award per discipline for Arjuna Award has also been removed for team sports.

“The maximum number of Arjuna Awards can exceed 15, but with proper justification and approval from the ministry. The three-year limitation for conferring Arjuna Award posthumously has been removed.”

Also, from now on, of the five Dronacharya Awards, two will be for lifetime contribution in coaching.

The clause that the coach should have trained the athlete during the immediate two years preceding the performance has been removed after many complained that the clause had denied deserving coaches the award just because their wards won international medals much later.

For instance, more than one coach claimed that Olympic medallists boxer Vijender Singh and wrestler Sushil Kumar have been trained by them. In fact, in the case of Vijender he has even reportedly submitted an affidavit that the coach who trained him in his native Bhiwani in Haryana should be the recepient of the cash award given by the government.

The ministry has now made it mandatory that the coach must submit details of the period during which he trained the medal winner.

“The selection committee will view the overall contribution made by the coach in the achievements the sportsperson. The coach will also have to submit details of the period during which he trained the sportsperson. This should be corroborated with an affidavit to that effect from the sportsperson.”

As for the selection to pick the awardees, there will be a minimum two years gap before a member other than ex-officio is re-nominated as chairperson or member in the panel.

Sports administrators’ category has been broadbased to include reputed persons from private sports academies for nomination as members in the selection committees.