Jwala Gutta

New Delhi, Jan 25 (IANS) Doubles badminton specialist Jwala Gutta questioned the criteria for selecting recipients of the Padma Awards, the country’s highest civilian awards, after being left out among the various other sports persons in the list announced on Wednesday.

“I always wondered the concept of applying for particular award which is the most reputed awards in our country.. but then that’s what the procedure is.. so I did apply…applied cos it’s prestigious to have the award..cos I thought maybe I made the people of my country proud by my game and deserved it,” wrote a hurt Gutta on her Facebook page.

Cricket captain Virat Kohli, hockey captain P.R. Sreejesh, 2016 Olympic medallist wrestler Sakshi Malik, and para-athletes Deepa Malik and Mariyappan Thangavelu were on Wednesday named for the Padma Shri. Gymnast sensation Dipa Karmakar, discus thrower Vikas Gowda and blind cricketer Shekhar Naik also have been awarded India’s fourth-highest civilian honour.

The left-handed Gutta, who won the gold in women’s doubles at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, apart from bronze in 2011 World Championships in London and several medals at various international events, including two bronzes in Uber Cup, said: “I have been playing for this country for more than 15 years now..and have won so many prestigious tournaments..

“I thought maybe I should apply..but I guess it’s never enough..you need recommendations, recommendations that you deserve an award. You need to put in a word and get letters and the list goes on and on..but the question I still have is why do I have to apply for an award and also ask for recommendation.

“Aren’t my credentials good enough? Well I am really curious about the whole system..My two consecutive medals, Delhi CWG gold and Glasgow silver is not enough, My World Championships medal is not enough, I was top 10 ranked in this women doubles and mixed doubles and my superseries performance and medals in Grand Prix gold is not enough,” she added.

She is the country’s most successful doubles specialist, and found greater success with Ashwini Ponnappa. The pair consistently figures among the top-twenty pairs in the world ranking, reaching as high as number 10 in 2015.

She paired with Ponappa at the Rio 2016 Olympics. But the pair crashed out in the group stage.

“I’m 15 times national champion and I am also the first Indian to qualify for two events in Olympics in Indian history, I’m the first Indian to win a medal after Prakash Padukone sir in world championships and so many other firsts,” the 33-year-old added.

She was given the Arjuna Award in 2011, India’s second highest sporting award for her achievements.

“I have laid path for doubles in Badminton for our country when nobody took it seriously..but it’s simply isn’t enough..why cos I am outspoken? Cos I am opinionated? why is it that I am being denied of this particular award? Now I really don’t know should I be asking for this award…or I simply don’t deserve it. if this is not enough what is?”