Sushil overlooked as Dravid, Mary get Padma Bhushan
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The Padma Bhushan honour, the country's third-highest civilian decoration is given to individuals, including sportsmen, who have shown 'distinguished service of a high order'. However, there is guideline that says there needs to be a period of at least five years between two Padma awards to the same person. Though the guideline adds that in highly deserving cases, a relaxation can be made.
Evidently Sushil's case, despite winning a silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics to add to his bronze in Beijing four years previously, wasn't considered deserving enough as he had been given a Padma Shri in 2011.
By that guideline, Sushil will be eligible to get a Padma Bhushan or higher not before 2016 when he'll be way past his prime, in all likelihood even retired.
Interestingly, even for the Padma Shri award, he has been snubbed once. In 2010, he wasn't in the list of winners, even as fellow Beijing bronze medallist, boxer Vijender Singh, was. Sushil eventually got it one year later, during which time he went on to win the world championship gold and the Commonwealth Games title.
Sushil's long time mentor and father-in-law Satpal Singh was bewildered at the latest miss. "I am really disappointed that he was not given the award, he deserved it. Nobody plays a sport to win an award, but I feel that Sushil should have gotten in this year because he won the Olympic medal again," Singh told The Indian Express on Friday.
"Azaad Bharat mein woh (Sushil) pehla khiladi hai jo do Olympic medal jeeta hai. May be he did not qualify as per their criteria despite winning all the medals in wrestling. 2010 mein bhi aisa kuch hua tha."
Meanwhile Sushil's close friend Yogeshwar Dutt and shooter Vijay Kumar were also rewarded with Padma Shri awards for winning bronze and silver medals at London Olympics. Also on the list is former international boxer Dingko Singh — 14 years after his gold medal at the Asian Games — and the 2010 Asian games gold medallist rower Bajrang Lal Takhar.
The awards committee comprised cabinet secretary Ajit Seth, home secretary RK Singh, Anil Kakodkar, prime minister's principal secretary Pulok Chatterjee and actor Ratna Pathak Shah.
Roll of honour
* Padma bhushan: Rahul Dravid (cricket), Mary Kom (boxing)
* Padma shri: Premlata Agarwal (mountain climber), Yogeshwar Dutt (wrestling), Hosanagara Nagarajegowda Girisha (paralympian), Vijay Kumar (shooting), Dingko Singh (boxing), Bajrang Lal Takhar (rowing)