Two-time Olympic medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar today threw his weight behind ace woman discus thrower Krishna Poonia, who cried foul after double trap shooter Ronjan Sodhi was chosen for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award.
Sushil came up with the suggestion that Poonia and Sodhi be jointly conferred the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, as was the case last year when the award was jointly given to shooter Vijay Kumar and wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt for their medal-winning efforts at the London Olympics.
"The government should jointly confer the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award to two of our best athletes -- Poonia and Sodhi. Both deserve the highest honour. Both are best in their respective field," Sushil told PTI.
"Sodhi has won two back-to-back World Cup gold medals and has brought many laurels to the country. Poonia won a Commonwealth Games gold medal and finished sixth in the Olympics apart from many other victories. So, in my view, both are deserving candidates and should be given the award," he added.
Sushil said Sodhi should have been honoured much earlier: "The award should have come his way much earlier. But it's better late than never," he said.
Sushil had a chance to meet with Poonia at the Sports Ministry office this afternoon and he extended his support to the 36-year-old mother of a boy.
"I had gone to meet the sports secretary for some personal work and ended up meeting Poonia who had come there to meet the sports minister and discuss her grievances," he said. "I had a word with her and extended my support to her. Then I left to meet the secretary."