Former Indian hockey captain Sardar Singh and Paralympic javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia, who won the gold medal in the 2016 Rio Paralympics, have been recommended for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the country’s highest honour for sportspersons.
Cricketers Cheteshwar Pujara and Harmanpreet Kaur, Paralympic medallists Mariyappan Thangavelu and Varun Bhati, and golfer SSP Chawrasia among 17 Arjuna awradees this year.
Sardar Singh is considered one of modern hockey’s finest defensive mid-fielders ever and has led India to two successive silver medal finishes in the Commonwealth Games. He was also the captain of the team when India won the bronze medal in the 2015 Hockey World League. He was awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India, in 2015.
Two-time Paralympic gold-medallist Devendra Jhajharia became the first paralympian to be recommended for the country’s highest sporting honour.
The 36-year-old Jhajharia, who is the first Indian to win two Paralympic gold medals, was the first choice of the awards selection committee headed by Justice (Retd) C K Thakkar. Jhajharia had won his medals in the javelin throw event.
The final call on this would be taken by the Sports Ministry.
Besides, the awards selection committee has recommended 17 names for the Arjuna award.
The list includes cricketer men’s team Test regular Cheteshwar Pujara, women’s team World Cup star Harmanpreet Kaur, Paralympic medallists Mariyappan Thangavelu and Varun Bhati, golfer SSP Chawrasia and hockey player S V Sunil.