Having already bestowed with country’s highest sporting honour Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Sakshi Malik and Mirabai Chanu have still sent their applications for this year’s Arjuna Award raining eyebrows. Also Read - Weightlifter Sanjita Chanu to Get Arjuna Award After Dope Charges Dropped
Wrestler Sakshi was honoured for her bronze medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016 while weightlifter Mirabai received the award for winning gold medal at the 2017 World Championships. Also Read - Badminton: HS Prannoy Apologises to BAI Over Arjuna Award Outburst on Twitter
“I know Khel Ratna is the highest award but I missed out on the Arjuna award earlier and I want that too,” Mirabai was quoted as saying by The Times of India. “Sometimes you want all of it. Players like to get the Arjuna award. I had also applied for the Arjuna award in 2018. We had applied for both the Arjuna award and the Khel Ratna then.” Also Read - Pullela Gopichand Recommends HS Prannoy For Arjuna Award
Indian Weightlifting Federation secretary general Sahdev Yadav said it’s Mirabai’s dream to win the award and they cannot stop her from applying for it.
“We can’t stop her. She applied and we forwarded her application to the sports ministry. It’s her dream to get the Arjuna. She told us that she wanted to see Arjuna awardee alongside her name. Who are we to stop her?” Yadav said.
On the other hand Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is surprised at Sakshi’s application
“It is like you’ve already done your Phd in a subject and then applied for a graduation in the same subject,” an unnamed WFI official was quoted as saying by the daily. “She had no achievement before the Rio Olympics, so her name was not sent for Arjuna. Since she won a bronze in Rio, she directly got the Khel Ratna that time. Now she wants the Arjuna award as well.”
A Union Sports Ministry official said should either of the two end up receiving the honour, it will be the first such case in the history of India national sports awards.
“A unique thing that has happened. In fact, it has also stupefied us. We will have to contemplate the course of action,” the unnamed official was quoted as saying.
Arjuna Awardees get benefits in Air and Rail travels besides a cash reward of Rs 5 lakh, statuette, ceremonial dress and a certificate.