Saina Nehwal clarified that she never demanded the Padma Bhushan award and insisted that she only wanted to know why her name was not considered. However, on Monday, the government finally recommended the star badminton player for the award.
"Don't know why it was shown that I demanded the award. Who am I to demand award? I just wanted to know why my name ws not recommended," Saina said.
Saina had expressed anger after her name was ignored. However, Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had told NDTV that the Badminton Association of India did not apply for Saina's award on time. The BAI contradicted the Minister's statement and said the recommendation was sent on August 9.
Saina also sought to clear the air over her statements on wrestling icon Sushil Kumar. The Hyderabadi had questioned the criteria on the basis of which the sports ministry recommended Sushil's name.
As per the norms, there has to be a gap of at least five years between two Padma awards to the same person and Sushil, having got the Padma Shri in 2011, wouldn't have been eligible for the Padma Bhushan before 2016. However, the home ministry has the prerogative to relax the rules in 'highly deserving' cases.
Saina said she was upset the media misconstrued the questions she raised on Sushil's recommendation. "Sushil is a great friend. People made it big. I'm upset about this and this is not the way how it should have been put."