Former Indian hockey captain Sardar Singh and Paralympic javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia have been recommended for the country’s highest honour for sportpersons, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.
Sardar Singh is one of the finest defensive mid-fielders in Hockey and has also led India to two successive silver medal finishes in the Commonwealth Games.
He was the captain of the team when India won the bronze medal in the 2015 Hockey World League. He has been awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India, in 2015.
Devendra Jhajharia, who won a gold medal at the Paralympics last year has also been recommended for the honour, making him the first para athlete to be amongst the recommendation.
While Cricketers Cheteshwar Pujara and Harmanpreet Kaur, Paralympic medallists Mariyappan Thangavelu and Varun Bhati, and golfer SSP Chawrasia are among 17 names recommended for Arjuna award this year.
Other entries for the Khel Ratna award are – former Indian hockey team captain Sardar Singh, boxer Manoj Kumar, and the four Paralympic medallists – Deepa Malik, Devendra Jhajharia, Mariappan Thagaveluu and Varun Singh Bhati.
Although, the Indian skipper of Women’s cricket team, Mithali Raj, who has been phenomenal at the recently concluded ICC Women’s World Cup has been missed by BCCI for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award ahead of the deadline.
However, the BCCI can still send her name as a late entry with an intervention from the Sports Minister, Vijay Goel himself.