Former Indian cricket vice-captain Virender Sehwag has come out in support of discus-thrower Krishna Poonia in the controversy over the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awards, asking the government to take note of her achievements.
"Poonia has big achievements like CWG Gold medal and sixth place finish at the Olympics and should be considered for Khel Ratna," Sehwag said. "I am sure the government will look into the matter," he added.
Poonia on Wednesday claimed that voting for the prestigious Khel Ratna Award, which was on Tuesday decided by the government to be conferred upon double trap shooter Ronjan Sodhi, is manipulated.
Joining Poonia in that uproar after being ignored is Paralympics silver medallist Girisha Nagarajegowda, who too expressed his displeasure after being snubbed, accusing the government of "double standards".
The announcement of Sodhi's name has followed much anger in the Indian sports fraternity, with Poonia claiming that Sodhi's name was recommended after votes by two Sports Authority of India (SAI) officials, who don't have the right to vote.
"SAI officials do not have voting rights", Poonia said. "I have very good performances in the period for which the award was given. If this is how awards are decided, then they should stop giving awards."
Talking to CNN-IBN, Girisha said the Paralympians are not treated at par with other sportspersons in the country. "Really disappointed I wasn't considered as the award goes to players who do well at highest level," he said. "These are double standards, all medallists at London Olympics last year were awarded."