The Karnataka High Court stayed Sania Mirza’s Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award on Wednesday, August 26, after receiving a plea from Paralympian Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda, the Indian athlete who won silver in London 2012 Parlympics and bronze at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games for high jumps.
Girisha was upset at the way Mirza was recommended by the Union sports ministry-appointed selection panel, while his work was overlooked.
“I deserve to win the top award given to sportspersons. I am a top contender as I garnered 90 points as against Sania, who is not anywhere near in top contenders’ list. The award is given to sportspersons based on the performance-based points system,” the silver medallist in the 2012 London Paralympics said.
“I understand Sania has won Grand Slam titles but according to ministry notification, only performances at the Olympics, Paralympics, Asiad, Commonwealth Games and World Championships from 2011 will be considered,” he said.
Mirza was recommended for Khel Ratna after she became the first Indian to win in the women’s doubles Grand Slam category during her partnership with Martina Hingis, for the Wimbledon title in 2015. Sania Mirza is the first woman tennis player but the second tennis player of India after Leander Paes to be named for the top award. Previously Paes was honoured with Khel Ratna in 1996.