Applications take sheen off Khel Ratna | other | Hindustan Times
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Applications take sheen off Khel Ratna

This year's Khel Ratna could lose its sheen somewhat as none of the eight applicants for the prestigious award has come up with blazing performances in their respective events this year. Navneet Singh reports.

other Updated: Jun 27, 2013 01:57 IST
Navneet Singh

This year's Khel Ratna could lose its sheen somewhat as none of the eight applicants for the prestigious award has come up with blazing performances in their respective events this year.

Discus thrower Krishna Poonia (athletics), Jeev Milkha Singh (golf), Sardar Singh and Sandeep Singh (both hockey) are among those who have filed their applications.

Power-lifter Bhupinder Singh, Paralymic athlete HN Girisha, shotgun shooter Ronjan Sodhi and tennis player Somdev Devvarman complete the list.

Past laurels

Almost all of them are resting on past laurels. If Somdev could not achieve much due to a shoulder injury, drag flicker Sandeep had to warm the bench till he was picked for the just-concluded Hockey World League Round 3 in Rotterdam.

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Others like Ronjan, who failed to live up to expectations at the 2012 London Olympics, too have nothing much to show.

Normally, one name is recommended for the award, constituted in 1991, but there have been exceptions.

Last year, after India's excellent performance at the London Games, the then sports minister Ajay Maken had recommended marksman Vijay Kumar (silver) and wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt (bronze) for the Khel Ratna.

The ministry had recommended three names in 2008 — Mary Kom (boxing), Sushil Kumar (wrestling) and Vijender Singh (boxing).

Beeline

There is a beeline for the Dronacharya Award, given to coaches for churning out champions.

The ministry has received 59 applications for five slots while 84 including Virat Kholi have applied for the conventional 15 slots for Arjuna Award.

There is also an upswing in applications including Sunil Gavaskar's for the Dhyanchand Award, given for lifetime achievement post retirement.

A preliminary screening will take place on Friday where government observers in respective disciplines or project officers of the Sports Authority of India (SAI), dealing with the disciplines, will examine the applications.

Thereafter, the applications will be examined by the ministry's panel (which is yet to be announced) and the names will be recommended for the sports minister's approval.