Archery coach Jiwanjot Singh Teja was on Wednesday dropped from the list of Dronacharya award nominees due to a past case of indiscipline while the Sports Ministry cleared all athletes recommended by the selection committee for Khel Ratna, Arjuna and Dhyan Chand awards.
Teja was among five coaches named by the selection committee for Dronacharya award on Sunday but it came to light that he had served a one-year ban following an incident of indiscipline during the 2015 World University Games in Korea.
“Teja had served a ban of one year for indiscipline after an incident that happened in 2015 during the World Universiade in Korea. He was the chief archery coach there and the women’s team under him could not reach on time for competition. India had to forfeit a match due to the late arrival,” a source from the ministry said on condition of anonymity.
“The Archery Association of India had banned him for one year for the incident. So, the minister has decided to drop him from the list of those recommended for Dronacharya award. All the other sportspersons recommended for Khel Ratna, Arjuna and Dhyan Chand have been cleared by the minister,” the source added.
S S Pannu (athletics), C A Kuttappa (boxing), Vijay Sharma (weightlifting) and A Srinivasa Rao (table tennis) were the others recommended for Dronacharya award.
Teja, on his part, reacted with shock, terming the Sports Ministry’s move as “gross injustice”. He said he will go to court against the move.
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“This is gross injustice. I will knock the doors of the Prime Minister and the President and will also go to court,” Teja told PTI reacting to the development.
“There are a few people who want to harm my reputation. Ask the archers who have trained with me. Ask what impact I had made on their training methods. Let there be a probe to find out if I have been wronged in this case,” Teja, who is a national compound archery coach since 2015, said.
The Association of Indian Universities (AIU) had slapped a three year ban on him for the 2015 incident while AAI had imposed a one-year ban.
“The AIU had reduced the ban to one and a half years because they also found out that I was not a fault. It was not deliberate and was an unfortunate incident. The chef de mission knew about the change in timings but he did not inform us. It was not even an event sanctioned by the government and I had gone by spending from my own pocket,” Teja said.
“And I had also completed the one-year ban of AAI. When I have completed the punishment, will that incident be dragged till my life? If I am wrong why I was sent to Asian Games as India coach? What about my achievements after 2015, will they not be considered? This is really disheartening,” he added.
The Dronacharya is presented to coaches for their outstanding and meritorious work on a consistent basis over a period of four years. It carries a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh.
Clarence Lobo (hockey), Tarak Sinha (cricket), Jiwan Kumar Sharma (judo) and V R Beedu (athletics) were recommended for Dronacharya award in the Life Time category.
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Satyadev Prasad (archery), Bharat Chhetri (hockey), Bobby Aloysius and Chougale Dadu Dattatray (wrestling) were named for Dhyan Chand award which is bestowed on athletes for life-time achievements and contribution to sport during their active career and post retirement.
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli and world champion weightlifter Mirabai Chanu were jointly recommended for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, while star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra was among 20 sportspersons picked for the Arjuna awards.
Besides Chopra, other prominent names recommended for Arjuna were junior world champion sprinter Hima Das and Asian Games gold-medallist middle distance runner Jinson Johnson, cricketer Smriti Mandhana, hockey players Manpreet Singh and Savita Punia, multiple Commonwealth Games gold-medallist table tennis star Manika Batra and Asiad doubles gold-medallist tennis player Rohan Bopanna.
The Khel Ratna awardees are entitled to a cash prize of Rs 7.5 lakh, while the Arjuna winners are given Rs 5 lakh.
President Ram Nath Kovind will present the awards on September 25 at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on September 25.
This year’s award ceremony was postponed to September 25 from the usual August 29 National Sports Day event due to clash of dates with the Asian Games in Indonesia.