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AP High Court urges govt to reconsider Jyothi Surekha’s plea for Khel Ratna award

Andhra Pradesh High Court asked the union sports ministry to reconsider archer Jyothi Surekha Vennam’s application for the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award for 2023.

Justice N. Jayasurya of AP High Court was hearing a plea of Jyothi Surekha, who was not considered for India’s highest sports award by the government.

Jyothi requested for cancellation of the decision of the selection committee, which approved the applications of India’s top men’s doubles badminton players Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty. She also demanded that the award should be given to her for the year 2023 due to her magnificent achievement.

The ace archer, who won the women’s individual compound gold at the Asian Games and completed a rare treble in Hangzhou, also sought details of the process of selection of Satwik and Chirag, who ended India’s long wait for a maiden gold medal in badminton at the Asian Games.

Unnam Sravan Kumar, the counsel who represented Jyothi Surekha in the high court, submitted to the court that the archer was not alleging any malpractices but was rather unhappy with the selection process.

The counsel also argued that sports minister Anurag Thakur is the competent authority for relaxing any relevant clause in the scheme.

Sravan Kumar, meanwhile, said that according to the sports ministry’s criteria for the award, Jyothi Surekha was eligible for 148.74 points, whereas Satwik and Chirag were eligible for only 58 points.

Justice Jayasurya said Jyothi Surekha’s plea needs to be examined, hence notices must be issued to all the stakeholders, including Satwik-Chirag and sports ministry. The next date for hearing has been set for February 5. The justice also passed an interim order for necessary action to be taken by sports minister Thakur on a representation made by the petitioner earlier, on January 8.

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