Bajrang Punia threatens to take Sports Ministry to court for Khel Ratna snub

"I don't wish to get it if they feel I don't deserve it. But I also want to know why they think I don't deserve it,” the Asian Games gold medal winning wrestler said.

India's Bajrang Punia poses with his gold medal in the men's freestyle wrestling (65kg) at the 18th Asian Games. He beat Japan's Daichi Takatani.   -  PTI

He was being considered a frontrunner for the Khel Ratna this year but having been ignored, Bajrang Punia has now sought an explanation from the ministry before deciding on his next course of action.

Addressing the media here on Thursday, the wrestler claimed he had the best credentials for the award and wanted to know the reason for being omitted by the selection committee. Virat Kohli and weightlifter Mirabai Chanu have been named for the same.

“Earlier it was about four years' or one year' performance but now there is a points system in place. It is very easy for anyone to see not just his own but the possible points earned by all the nominees and winners. And I know I have the maximum points of all the names so I wish to know the reason for being ignored,” he said.

Punia, who won gold at both the Asian and Commonwealth Games earlier this year, would be meeting Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore on Friday to explain his case. “I don't wish to get it if they feel I don't deserve it. But I also want to know why they think I don't deserve it. I will have no option but to go to court if they cannot give me a genuine reason,” he said while admitting that getting an honour was always better than asking for it.

However, on asked why he was then contemplating legal action, Punia said there were no guarantees for future. “Specially in wrestling which is a very physical sport and you never know when you can get injured. No sportsperson will take the risk of waiting for one year”.

He, however, gave the Wrestling Federation of India a clean chit, saying they had recommended his name and he would not involve them in case he did decide to take legal recourse.