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Sports ministry to recommend Sai for Padma Bhushan

New Delhi, Jan 5: Putting an end to the Padma Bhushan row, the sports ministry Monday decided to recommend woman shuttler Sai Nehwal’s me for the country’s third highest civilian honour "as a special case", according to a statement.

Olympic bronze medallist Sai Friday expressed her displeasure at being overlooked for two–time Olympic medal winning wrestler Sushil Kumar. This prompted Sports Minister Sarbanda Sonowal to assert Sunday that he received Sai’s nomition from the Badminton Association of India (BAI) only on Saturday.

However, the ministry decided to recommend her me to the ministry of home affairs on Monday.

"The ministry has since received the nomition of Sai Nehwal for Padma Bhushan Jan 3 from Badminton Association of India," the ministry said in a statement.

"In view of the achievements of Sai, the Department of Sports has decided to recommend her case for Padma Bhushan to the ministry of home affairs as a special case although the last date for making the recommendation is long over."

After the decision, Sai took to Twitter to thank Sonowal.

"@sarbandsonwal I would like to thank u so much sir for recommending my me for the Padma Bhushan honour," tweeted Sai.

The Hyderabadi earlier had questioned the criteria on the basis of which the sports ministry has recommended former world champion Sushil’s me.

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. The 24–year–old Sai said her me was rejected last year for the same reason. IANS

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Ankur Kalita

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