After the Punia-Sodhi episode surrounding the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, another controversy surrounded the National Sports Awards 2013. The Sports Ministry put the Arjuna Award to be given to Triple Jumper Renjith Maheswary at the eleventh hour even though the athlete was camping in Delhi to receive it. The awards ceremony was held at the Rashtrapati Bhawan yesterday, but Renjith was asked not to attend it.
The Sports Ministry took the decision in the wake of dope charges against Renjith. However, it remained a mystery why they chose him for the award, as it was an open secret that Renjith was suspended for three months in 2008 after he reportedly failed in a dope test.
Renjith and his wife VS Surekha, a national record holder in women’s pole vault, had been camping in Delhi along with his parents to receive the award. The development came as a big shocker for all of them. Renjith has taken it as a big insult and vowed to bounce back with improved performance.