New Delhi/Bhopal: The rejection of Sumari Tete and Jyoti Kullu by the Arjuna awards committee has sparked vehement protest by the coach of the national side and the Indian Women's Hockey Federation. While Tete, who has played for over a decade now and is also the captain of the national side, was being considered a strong contender for the prize, the credentials of Kullu are no less impressive. Tete, afraid to ruffle feathers in the establishment, could only show her disappointment. "If you feel you're a deserving candidate and still don't get the award, then you obviously feel bad," she said. "Tete has been playing for so many years. She has won golds in the Commonwealth Games, the Asia Cup and the Afro-Asia Cup. She's no less deserving than all those who have now won the award. It seems an injustice has been done to women's hockey. This has only lowered the morale of the girls. If this trend continues, the coming generations will not be attracted towards hockey," said M K Kaushik, Coach, Indian women's hockey team. The criteria for the Arjuna Awards give precedence to medals won for India at the Asian or international level, and take into account the performance of the candidate in question over the last sporting season. So both the players and the IWHF have every reason to feel aggrieved. This was the team narrowly missing out on the gold in the Melbourne Commonwealth Games earlier this year. "The Indian women's hockey team has done so well in the last commonwealth games and this one as well. And they'll continue doing well. We feel deprived and cheated. It's almost as though we don't have a godfather there in the Arjuna awards selection Committee, which is why we missed out," said Amrit Bose, Secretary General, IWHF.