Aspirants have been asked to e-mail their claims for this year’s national sports awards by the Sports Ministry in the backdrop of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Also Read - Coronavirus: Cases in Pakistan Rise Above 69,470; Death Toll Nears 1,500-mark

The applicants will not be required to submit hard copies of their documents. Also Read - Bangladesh Reopens Offices, Transport Services Amid Spike in Coronavirus Cases

The process for the annual awards gets usually gets underway from April but the lockdown enforced due to the health crisis forced the ministry to delay it by a month. Also Read - Amid Sharp GDP Data Revision, Debate Continues Over Its Fairness

“Due to lockdown on account of outbreak of COVID-19, hard copies of nominations are not required to be sent. Scanned copies of nominations duly signed by the applicant and recommending authority may be sent before last date of submission,” read a ministry circular.

The last date of filing nominations is June 3. “Nominations received after last date will not be entertained. The Ministry will not be responsible for any delay,” the circular read.

As is the case, sportspersons who have been involved in doping in any form will not be ineligible.

“Sportspersons who have been penalized or against whom enquiry is pending/ongoing for use of drugs/substances banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) based on a sample collected by the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA)…will not be eligible for the Award,” the ministry said.

India’s highest individual sporting honour is Khel Ratna (prize money Rs 7.5 lakh) followed by Arjuna Award (prize money Rs 5 lakh).

The Droncharya award is for excellence in coaching whereas Dhyan Chand award honours lifetime contributions.

Paralympian Deepa Malik and wrestler Bajrang Punia were jointly given the Khel Ratna award for the last year.