In a major reform in the nomination policy, athletes could be allowed to directly nominate themselves for the sports national awards from next year. Hinting at a policy change, the sport’s ministry is mulling over allowing athletes to directly send in their applications to the authorities for the national awards without obtaining the certificates from their respective National Sports Federations.
The sportsperson could nominate themselves for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, and Arjuna awards without seeking recommendations for their awards from authorities. Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said, “This year, because of the covid-19 situation, we allowed self-nomination for the sports awards. Going forward, the self-nomination could be considered as the primary form of a nomination for the awards,” reported Times of India.
The step comes in the wake of the increasing demands by sportspersons asking the government to allow them to nominate themselves for the award. “The recommendation by the government is a good suggestion. It can be considered (for future) after consultation with prominent persons in the field of sports,” TOI quoted Rijiju.
This year’s Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award nominations from wrestling
Star wrestler Vinesh Phogat has been put in contention for ‘Khel Ratna’ while World Championship medallists Rahul Aware and Olympic-bound Deepak Punia were nominated for the Arjuna award alongside Sakshi Malik and two others by the national federation.
Vinesh, the only Indian woman wrestler to have qualified for the Tokyo Games, was an easy pick but surprisingly the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has sent as many as five applications for Arjuna and four each for Dronacharya and Dhyanchand awards.
Though Sakshi Malik has not much to show in the last three years, the WFI chose not to reject her candidature. Leave aside dishing out strong performances, the Rio Olympic bronze winner is struggling to even get past juniors in her category.
World silver winner Deepak Punia, making a transition from junior to senior circuit, and Rahul Aware, who won a bronze in Nur Sultan, are deserving candidates.