The Arjuna Award selection committee has decided not to make changes to this year's 15 athletes' list for the prestigious award, which means boxer Manoj Kumar whose name was omitted because of a 'clerical error' remains ignored.
The 12-member award panel - headed by former Indian cricketer Kapil Dev and featuring the likes of Anju Bobby George, Kunjarani Devi and sports Authority of India director general Jiji Thompson - decided to go ahead with the original list, after two hours of deliberation in Delhi.
"Did we require to change (the list)?" Kapil said. "There's no change. We decided to stick to the list we had given before. We are satisfied with the names given before. We did not find any loopholes where we can criticise ourselves."
Earlier, there were speculations that the selection panel might make a few changes to the original list, and the name of Manoj - who won gold in the 2010 Commonwealth Games - will be included. But Kapil informed that the committee thought there is no need to add any more names.
"We went into the details about it, but felt that Jai Bhagwan should get it this year," the former Indian captain said. "I hope next year he (Manoj Kumar) will get it."
The award panel came under criticism for selecting five athletes from Kerala but Kapil took a jibe on that and stressed that it is not a state award and deserving sportspersons have been recommended for the honour.
"If nobody from Haryana gets an award, it does not bother me," Kapil said. "The more important thing is that Indian sportspersons are getting awards. Kerala is part of India and if they produce more sportspersons, good luck to them. It's not a state award, it's a national award."
Meanwhile, Manoj was left dejected with the decision and termed it as an "insult". The Haryana pugilist said he is feeling betrayed as SAI DG Thompson had assured him of adding his name to the list.
"The SAI DG himself called me up the next day (August 14) that my case will be considered and no injustice would be done to me," Manoj pointed out. "He assured me that my name will be added in the Arjuna list. But all these turned out to be false promises and they have backtracked now.
"I have a trial for the Asian Games next week and I am in severe mental stress. First, they tarnished my image by mistakenly calling me a dope offender and then betrayed me by backtracking on what they had promised. It's an insult and betrayal."
Players Recommended for Arjuna Award: Ravichandran Ashwin (cricket), Akhilesh Varma (archery), Tintu Luka (athletics), H N Girisha (paralympics), V Diju (badminton), Geetu Ann Jose (basketball), Jai Bhagwan (boxing), Anirban Lahiri (golf), Mamta Pujari (kabaddi), Saji Thomas (rowing), Heena Sidhu (shooting), Anaka Alankamony (squash), Tom Joseph (volleyball), Renubala Chanu (weightlifting) and Sunil Rana (wrestling).