Sunil Chhetri nominated for Khel Ratna, Bala Devi for Arjuna Award
Chhetri has been in terrific form for the country and for his Indian Super League (ISL) club Bengaluru FC over the past few years. Bala Devi became the first Indian woman footballer to play for a top-flight professional league in Europe.
Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri has been recommended for the country’s highest sporting honour – Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award – by the All India Football Federation (AIFF), news agency PTI reported on Wednesday.
Chhetri has been in terrific form for the country and for his Indian Super League (ISL) club Bengaluru FC over the past few years. He has played 118 international matches, scoring 74 goals which is an Indian record.
National women’s football team striker Bala Devi has been recommended for the coveted Arjuna Award. She is currently playing for Rangers in the Scottish Women's Premier League.
“We have recommended Sunil Chhetri for the Khel Ratna and Bala Devi for Arjuna Award. We have also recommended Gabriel Joseph for Dronacharya Award,” the PTI quoted a source as saying, on condition of anonymity.
Chettri is a recipient of the Arjuna Award (2011) and Padma Shri (2019) – India’s fourth highest civilian honour. Since making his debut in 2005, he has been a part of the Indian team that won the AFC Challenge Cup (2008), SAFF Championships (2011, 2015), Nehru Cup (2007, 2009, 2012), Intercontinental Cup (2017, 2018). He also played in the 2011 and 2019 Asian Cup.
Chettri had recently scored twice against Bangladesh at World Cup Qualifiers in Qatar. He became the second highest international goal scorer among active footballers, ahead of Argentina’s Lionel Messi.
On the other hand, Bala Devi became the first Indian woman footballer to play for a top-flight professional league in Europe when she joined Rangers of Glasgow in January last year. She has represented India in more than 50 matches since 2010.
(With PTI Inputs)