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Panel may reconvene to discuss Manoj case

New Delhi: In an unprecedented move, the sports ministry is likely to reconvene the meeting of the Kapil Dev-led Arjuna Award committee on Tuesday, after it was found that boxer Manoj Kumar was wrongly levelled as a “dope offender” and was denied the award.

According to sources, Manoj, a light welterweight bronze medallist in the Asian championship, was described as a “dope offender” in his resume. It was later revealed that the ministry had confused him with another Manoj Kumar, who was banned for doping in school-level boxing in June, 2012.

“We went by the resume prepared by the ministry and the Sports Authority of India (SAI),” said a member of the committee.

The recommendations of the committee also came under fire on Thursday from Hockey India (HI), which alleged the awards were “fixed”. No hockey player has been recommended this year.

In a letter to the sports minister, Sarbananda Sonowal, and SAI director general, Jiji Thompson, the HI secretary general Narender Batra said: “Out of 15 Arjuna winners, five are from one state only...”

It was obvious that the five sportspersons from Kerala and the SAI DG, a Kerala cadre IAS officer, were the targets of his attack.

The selection of 22-year-old squash player Anaka Alankamony also raised eyebrows, as the Chennai-based girl is not even a national champion.