Will fight for it, won't let it go: HS Prannoy on Arjuna Award nomination

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India shuttler HS Prannoy is yet to wash his hands off the controversial Arjuna Award nomination saga, saying he will continue to fight for as he gears up to apply for the nomination himself.

Last week, a day after Prannoy lashed out at Badminton Association of India (BAI) for ignoring him for the prestigious Arjuna Award, a BAI official informed that his exclusion was based on disciplinary grounds. Prannoy has responded to the statement, claiming the whole thing is nothing but an excuse on the federation’s part.

“They came out with their own version that (Kidambi) Srikanth and I have disciplinary issues. I don’t want to comment on that because I can now apply for the nomination on my own. I don’t need to go through the association,” Prannoy told the Indian Express.

“If they want to do something like this, they have the power to do it since the association is above the players. They have done their part and given their punishment. Now I can at least proceed with it my way and put in my request for Arjuna Awards.”

Prannoy had a fabulous 2017-18 season, rising to world No. 10. In 2017, he won the US Open and reached the semi-finals of the Indonesia Open Super Series Premier with sensational wins over Olympic champion Chen Long and Malaysian legend Lee Chong Wei. In 2018, he became only the third Indian to win a men’s singles medal (bronze) at the Asian championships. It took him to a career high ranking of world No. 8. Despite the snub, Prannoy is not willing to throw in the towel just yet.

“I will definitely be fighting for it; I will not let it go. I want to see how far I can go because I think I deserve the award, looking at my performance and lack of recognition last year,” he said.

Prannoy admitted the decision did not surprise him and went on to claim that his exclusion stems from the federation’s alleged bias towards shuttlers from Kerala. Prannoy insisted that his continuous pursual is a step in a direction of changing this trend.

“There have been a lot of players in the past who have not received recognition and I feel that their names should have been there. There are many shuttlers worthy of getting Arjuna, especially from my state Kerala,” he said.

“Sanave Thomas and Rupesh Kumar are some of the best doubles players ever produced by Kerala but they have not received the award. These things have always happened to players from my state. There is no one to speak for us. Getting these kinds of awards needs a push and a pull.”

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