Speculation is rife that London Olympic Games medallists, pistol shooter Vijay Kumar and wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, could be considered for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna when the panel, headed by Athens Games silver-medallist RVS Rathore, deliberates on the issue in the Capital, on Saturday.
The sports ministry officials have reportedly conveyed the message to the panel that the credentials of the two cannot be ignored. Vijay had clinched silver while Yogeshwar had won a bronze at the Games.
The name of retired India cricketer, Rahul Dravid, too is doing the rounds on the eve of the meeting. A Sports Authority of India (SAI) official said on condition of anonymity that, in order to steer clear of controversy, the ministry might consider picking all three for the award. Both the medallists have reportedly been told that their names have been proposed for the award.
The award, instituted in 1991-92, carries a cash reward of Rs. 7.50 lakh besides a scroll and a medal. In 2009, boxers MC Mary Kom and Vijender Singh and wrestler Sushil Kumar were jointly given the award by then sports minister MS Gill. The award had been given thrice to two individuals, including in 2002-2003 when rifle shooter Anjali Bhagwat and athlete KM Beenamol were declared joint winners.