Bengaluru: The decision to honour tennis star Sania Mirza with the Khel Ratna has been stayed after the Sports Ministry’s move was challenged by Paralympian H.N Girisha in the Karnataka High Court.
The HC has issued a notice to center regarding the same. The ministry had decided to award Sania – the world No. women’s doubles player – after what has been a strong year on the tennis court.
However, Girisha had won the silver medal in the 2012 London Olympics and said he deserved to win the country’s highest sporting award.
Earlier, Mirza became only the second tennis player to be recommended for the prestigious award. Her name was recommended by a Sports Ministry-constituted awards committee headed by Justice V K Bali, the retired Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court. The committee included eminent athletes such as Dola Banerjee, M M Somayya and Bhogeshwar Baruah and sports journalists apart from top officials of the Sports Ministry.
The 28-year-old, who has won three mixed doubles Grand Slams in her career, beat competition from squash player Deepika Pallikal, discus thrower Vikas Gowda, track and field star Tintu Luka, rising shuttler P V Sindhu, and hockey captain Sardar Singh for the coveted honour.
Sania, currently ranked world number one in women’s doubles, scripted history by becoming the first Indian to clinch a women’s doubles Grand Slam when she partnered Swiss great Martina Hingis for the Wimbledon trophy earlier this year.