New Delhi: Sports Minister M S Gill has once again lashed out at cricketers M S Dhoni and Harbahajan Singh for not attending the Padma Awards ceremony this year.
Advising the Indian cricket captain and the spin bowler to learn from teammate Sachin Tendulkar on treating national awards with respect, Gill said no substitutes will be allowed to collect the awards on any winner’s behalf from this year.
“No substitutes will be allowed from this year even for sports awards like Arjuna and Drona awards. I was shocked to see substitutes receive awards from the President. You have learn from players like Tendulkar, Dravid and Kumble the way they respect their awards,” he said.
“If a player cannot come to receive the award because he is playing, he/she should write an apology mail to the sports minister, well in advance,” he said.
Dhoni and Harbhajan came under severe criticism from Gill for skipping the Padma award function with the Sports Minister saying he would soon issue a circular to ensure that sportspersons treated national awards with utmost respect.
The duo were conspicuous by their absence at the Rashtrapati Bhavan where they were expected to accept the Padma Shri awards from President Pratibha Patil.