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Arjuna awardee Manika has mixed feelings as coach ignored for Dronacharya

An Arjuna award for her historic achievements has made Manika Batra happy but only just, as she says the Dronacharya snub to her coach Sandeep Gupta has been a dampener.

The celebrations after securing the country’s second highest sporting honour were subdued as her childhood coach Gupta missed out on the Dronacharya award for the second time.

“Yes I wanted him to get the award. But it is the government’s decision and we have to respect that. I will work harder so he gets it next time,” Manika told agencies after being named as a sponsored athlete of Herbalife Nutrition on Thursday.

“It’s a case of being partially happy for her,” said her mother Sushma.

Manika, who is the first Indian woman to win a Commonwealth Games gold and an Asian Games bronze, was also in the running for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna.

“I was expecting that (Khel Ratna) but there were other deserving athletes. It is fine. I will continue to strive for it,” said the 23-year-old.

While her coach was overlooked for Dronacharya, another deserving candidate , Srinivasa Rao, father of India’s finest A Sharath Kamal, got the selection committee’s nod.

Rao is among the eight coaches who will be bestowed with Dronacharya on September 25. Manika’s coach Gupta was obviously disappointed with the snub.

“I have no issues as long as any deserving coach gets the award. My problem is with the number of Dronacharya awardees every year. It should be at par with Arjuna winners. Behind every Arjuna winner, there is years of hard work put in by a coach. It must be acknowledged,” lamented Gupta.

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