Yogeshwar Dutt advices Bajrang Punia to focus on World Championships despite Khel Ratna snub

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Yogeshwar Dutt advices Bajrang Punia to focus on World Championships despite Khel Ratna snub

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SportsCafe Desk


Bajrang Punia, who was contemplating to go to court after being ignored for the Khel Ratna Award, has been advised by mentor Yogeshwar Dutt to concentrate on the next month’s World Championships over Khel Ratna issue. Punia felt that he wronged by the Sports Ministry and was very upset over that.

Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia had clinched gold medals at both Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and Asian Games in Jakarta this year. Prior to this, he had achieved silver medals at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games of 2014. As per him, this made him a deserving candidate for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award. However, the Sports Ministry ignored Punia’s name for the highest sporting honour in India, which made the wrestler angry.

Punia had met Sports Minister of India Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on Thursday, accompanied by Yogeshwar Dutt to discuss the whole matter. Punia mentioned that he will be forced to seek the help of a Court if he doesn't get any favourable answer from the Sports Minister.

“I was supposed to meet the Minister today but suddenly we got a call last evening for the meeting. I asked the Minister about the reason for not considering me for the Khel Ratna. He said I didn’t have enough points, which is wrong. I have garnered more points than the two (Virat Kohli and Mirabai Chanu) who were nominated,” Bajrang told PTI.

“I have been wronged. I want justice. The Minister said he will look into the matter but there is hardly any time left for the award function. If I don’t get a favourable reply by evening I will move court,” he had added.

His mentor, Yogeshwar Dutt has, however, advised him to divert his focus towards the World Championships, coming up next month. He feels Punia’s involvement in the matter will damage his preparations for the upcoming tournament. Punia will most likely listen to his mentor and refrain from engaging himself in the court procedures.

“It was an injustice to Bajrang as he deserved the Khel Ratna this year. We met the Sports Minister yesterday and he said he will talk to the selection committee. But I have advised Bajrang against going to the court as it will hamper his World Championship preparations,” said Yogeshwar.

Though Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has assured Punia of hearing his case, a source in the Sports Ministry mentioned that it is most unlikely that he would introduce any last minute changes to the list.

“The Minister met Bajrang and wanted to know his grievances. He explained to Bajrang why his name was not considered. Even though he has promised Bajrang to look into the matter, it is unlikely that any changes will be made,” said the source.

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