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Arjuna Awards ceremony to be postponed

July 14, 2004 20:06 IST

The Arjuna Awards ceremony, held every year at Rashtrapati Bhawan in Delhi on August 29, is most likely to be postponed this time since the country's leading sportspersons would be away in Athens for the Olympics.

Highly-placed sources in the Sports Ministry said a letter had been sent to President A P J Abdul Kalam requesting postponement of the ceremony in view of the Olympics.

"We have written a letter to the President and requested him to postpone the ceremony. Most probably it will be postponed," the sources said.

"Not only the sportspersons but federation officials and a government delegation would be away in Athens. So we think it would not be feasible to have the ceremony," they said.

The Olympic Games are slated to be held from August 13 to 29 in the Greek capital.

A committee to screen the awardees has also not been put in place and it is unlikely that the awards would be declared before September.

"As far as the committee members are concerned, we have proposed the names of former Olympians in consultation with Sports Authority of India officials. Now it is up to the Sports Minister to decide who all will be part of the committee," they said.

It is the second time in nearly ten years that the awards ceremony is being postponed. Although the awards were instituted in 1961, there used to be no specific date to present the awards till 1994, when August 29 was declared as the date for the ceremony.

The Arjuna Awards ceremony was postponed in 2001 when the then President K Narayanan was indisposed, amid a raging controversy over the eligibility and selection criteria for the prestigious national honour.

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