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Did not stake claim to Padma: Vijender

New Delhi, Jan 6: Rubbishing media reports that boxer Vijender Singh, akin to shuttler Sai Nehwal, had staked claim to the Padma Bhushan, the Olympic bronze medallist on Tuesday said he had only spoken to Boxing India (BI) officials seeking information about the award criteria.

Reports were rife in a section of the media during the day that Vijender had demanded that his me be nomited for the country’s third–highest civilian award –– a day after fellow Olympic bronze medallist Nehwal was recommended for the prestigious award by the sports ministry "as a special case".

Late last week, Sai had tweeted her displeasure on being ignored for the honour and the sports ministry appeared to have caved in Monday.

"I have neither written or spoken to anyone from the sports ministry about this. I have only sought the criterion for the award from Boxing India," Vijender told IANS. "Boxing India told me to submit my credentials to them and said we will try for you. Now it is up to the federation to decide what to do…."

The boxer–turned–actor said he would be uffected even if the ministry rejects his recommendation as he is aware that the deadline for sending nomitions for the award was long over. The last date for submission of nomitions was Sep 15, last year.

"I am aware that the last date is over. I am okay if my late recommendation is not entertained by the ministry," he said.

The Harya–born boxer also said that he supports the ministry’s earlier decision of conferring the award on two–time Olympic medal–winning wrestler Sushil Kumar. "I fully commend the ministry’s decision to confer the award to Sushil Kumar. He is the most deserving candidate having won two Olympic medals," the 29–year–old said.

The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Rat awardee also said that he would accept the ministry’s eventual decision regarding his nomition, should Boxing India submit it to the ministry.

"I am sure the panel for selection of the award comprises experienced persons who would hopefully take the correct decision."

BI said they would approach the government "requesting" consideration for Vijender but won’t "demand" his inclusion in the list owing to the deadine being over. "We can request the government for Vijender but cannot demand because the deadline is already over," BI secretary general Jay Kowli told IANS on Tuesday. IANS

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Ankur Kalita

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