Q: Why is there such a big controversy involving the names of two of the biggest sporting stars in their respective disciplines?
A: There is absolutely no controversy over the issue at all as it is made out by the media. My only point is that if Sushil Kumar is eligible for the award then so am I. I think have done well to deserve the award. So I am bit disappointed over not being nominated.
Q: Does it bother you so much that wrestler Sushil Kumar got nominated for the Padma Bhushan Award over you?
A: I have high respect for him as he has won a medal in the Olympics and done the nation proud. I would be more than happy to share the award with him as we both won medals in 2012. My only query is the eligibility criteria for the Award nothing else. He is not eligible while I am. His nomination has been pushed under special consideration.
Q: Do awards mean so much to you?
A: It is not a question of awards. When an award comes ones way it motivates and inspires you to work harder.
Q: How would you substantiate staking claim for the Padma Bhushan Award over Sushil Kumar?
A: Well, I think the reason is my performances. I have had a very successful 2014 winning five titles. My rankings were at a high of Number 2 in the world. I won the China Open Super series, Australian Super Series, India Open Grand Prix, besides Bronze medal efforts at Uber Cup and the Asian Games in 2014. Moreover after 2010 CWG Gold, I had won the Bronze medal at the London Olympics 2012. One feels bad when one’s effort goes unrecognised.
Q: You have had very fine run in 2014. So what are your goals in the new year 2015 ?
A: Well, the aim is obviously to carry on the good form of 2014 into the new year and try to be consistent with my performances . I am happy with my fitness right now. After spate of niggling injuries last year, I am fit now and the results are showing . In 2013, I had some issues and hence the year did not go well as expected.