Boxer Manoj Kumar received his Arjuna Award from Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal after winning a High Court case. The Kapil Dev-led award committee had earlier refused to give the coveted award to the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medallist. Angry with the government’s decision not to give him the award, Manoj had filed a case in the Delhi High Court.
The Sports Ministry then admitted that they had mixed his name up with another junior boxer, also named Manoj Kumar, who was not considered for the Award because of doping allegations in a junior tournament.
The ministry, represented by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, informed Justice Vibhu Bakhru that Kumar was initially not considered for the award by the committee as they mistakenly believed that he was involved in a doping case.
Jain also informed the court a representation was made on the boxer’s behalf but without giving reasons, the committee rejected his plea.
The controversial recommendation of boxer Jai Bhagwan for the prestigious Arjuna Awards had led to Kumar approaching the sports ministry officials, who, he said, had assured him that his name would be added to a list of 15 athletes in a review meeting.