New Delhi: Former hurdler and Athletics Federation of India’s selection panel head G S Randhawa has protested the Dronacharya award to be conferred on K P Thomas and questioned the Keralite’s claims of mentoring stars like Anju Bobby George in a letter to the Sports Ministry.

Himself a contender for the award this year, Randhawa said there are several instances where the “deserving ones are left waiting in the wings while the pushy type get away with the honours”. Randhawa, who finished fifth in the 110m hurdles event of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, said Thomas’ name getting the nod for Dronacharya award has stunned even the AFI the Athletics fraternity in India is surprised rather shocked to learn that K.P. Thomas is selected to receive Dronacharya Award this year.

“There are many outstanding coaches in our country who have been denied the Dronacharya Award where as there are quite a few who devoid of merit but having “influential connections” have been able to get the award, in blatant violation of the existing rules.

“This year the Dronacharya Award will be given to a person who has never attended any National Coaching Camp or gone with the Indian athletes to take part in any major International Athletics Championships,” he explained. Questioning Thomas’ credentials, Randhawa said his background and achievements should be throughly checked again.

“Shri K.P. Thomas has claimed that he had coached Anju Bobby George, Shiny Wilson and Jincy Phillip. Shri Bobby George has already been awarded Dronacharya Award for the athletic performance of Anju Bobby George; similarly Shri Hargobind Singh has been awarded Dronacharya Award for the athletic performance of Shiny Wilson,” he asserted.

PTI

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