The Union Sports Ministry all set to come out with the names of sportspersons to be honoured with sports awards. Meanwhile, news reports have emerged which states Harbhajan Singh’s application for Khel Ratna and Dutee Chand’s for Arjuna award have been rejected by the ministry.
Punjab Government had nominated Harbhajan Singh’s name and submitted an application to the sports ministry for honouring him with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award. Keeping in mind the former Indian cricketer’s glorious career, this seemed a good call of gesture by his state government.
However, the Punjab government had sent its application on 25th June, while the last date set by the ministry was 30th April. Thus, Harbhajan Singh’s application for India’s highest sporting award was officially not accepted.
Star athlete Dutee Chand’s application for the Arjuna Award was submitted by the Athletics Federation of India, along with the names of other four athletes. In the list submitted by IAF for the national award, the woman sprinter’s name was at the very last.
According to the protocol of the sports ministry, one organization can submit only three names at a time for any award. Thus Dutee Chand’s application was cancelled by the ministry. Chand, who recently bagged a gold medal in the International University Games, followed Tejinder Pal Singh, Swapna Burman, Arpinder Singh and Manjit Singh.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has also submitted names of few cricketers for the Arjuna Award. Along with pacer Mohammad Shami and JAsprit Bumrah, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and woman cricketer Poonam Yadav have found their names in BCCI’s application for the Arjuna Award.
While in BCCI’s case also the application consists of more than three names, the sports ministry has not yet made an official announcement in this regard. However, the cricket body has not nominated anyone for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award this year.