Neeraj Chopra, Ravi Dahiya, Lovlina Borgohain among 11 recommended for Khel Ratna
- Unprecedented number to get country's highest sporting honour after Olympic and Paralympic performances.
In a year of unprecedented success for Olympic sport, the country’s highest sporting award--the Dhyanchand Khel Ratna--has been recommended for 11 athletes, making it the largest number of sportspersons being named for the country's highest sporting honour.
Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Neeraj Chopra, India's first gold medal winner in athletics and only the second Indian athlete to win an individual Olympic gold, predictably tops the list. Wrestler Ravi Dahiya, who won a silver medal in Tokyo, and boxer Lovlina Borgohain, who won bronze, along with bronze-medal winning hockey team's goalkeeper PR Sreejesh are the other Tokyo heroes who have been nominated by the National Sports Awards Committee on Wednesday.
All five gold medallists from the Tokyo Paralympics--Avani Lekhara (shooting), Manish Narwal (shooting), Sumit Antil (athletics), Pramod Bhagat (badminton) and Krishna Nagar (badminton) have also been recommended for the Khel Ratna. India’s football captain Sunil Chhetri and women’s cricket stalwart Mithali Raj round off the list for Khel Ratna. Last year, five sportspersons were awarded Khel Ratna, which has been renamed Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna from this year.
India had a historic outing at the Tokyo Olympics, winning seven medals. Three of those medallists, Bajrang Punia, PV Sindhu and Mirabai Chanu are already Khel Ratna awardees. In the Tokyo Paralympics, Indian athletes gave a breakaway performance with 19 medals--five gold, eight silver and six bronze medals.
For the Arjuna award, thirty-five sportspeople have been nominated, including the entire men's hockey squad, Vandana Katariya and Monika who were instrumental in the Indian women's hockey team's brilliant performance at the Tokyo Olympics, Bhavani Devi, who was the first fencer from India to qualify for the Olympics, boxer Simranjit Kaur, wrestler Deepak Punia, pistol shooter Abhishek Verma and others.
Neeraj Chopra (athletics), Ravi Dahiya (wrestling), PR Sreejesh (hockey), Lovlina Borgohain (boxing), Sunil Chettri (football), Mithali Raj (cricket)
Pramod Bhagat (badminton), Sumit Antil (athletics), Avani Lekhara (shooting), Krishna Nagar (badminton), Manish Narwal (shooting)
Arjuna Award: Hockey men's Olympic bronze medal winning team barring Manpreet Singh and PR Sreejesh, who have been past recipient of Arjuna, Shikhar Dhawan (cricket), Arpinder Singh (athletics), Simranjit Kaur (boxing), Bhavani Devi (fencing), Monika (hockey), Vandana Katariya (hockey), Abhishek Verma (shooting), Sandeep Narwal (kabaddi), Ankita Raina (tennis) Deepak Punia (wrestling), Bhavina Patel (table tennis), Yogesh Kathuniya (discus), Nishad Kumar (high jump), Praveen Kumar (high jump) Sharad Kumar (high jump), Suhas LY (badminton), Singhraj Adhana (shooting), Harvinder Singh (archery)