Two-time Paralympic gold-medallist Devendra Jhajharia, on Thursday, became the first paralympian to be recommended for the country’s highest sporting honour – the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna – along with former hockey captain Sardar Singh, reported PTI.
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 CK Thakkar. The committee has suggested that both Jhajharia and Sardar be considered for the award jointly. The final call on this would be taken by the Sports Ministry.
Jhajharia had won his medals in the javelin throw event at the 2004 Athens Olympics and the 2016 Rio Games. The awards selection committee has also recommended 17 names for the Arjuna award, including two para-athletes.
The list includes cricketers Cheteshwar Pujara and Harmanpreet Kaur, Rio Paralympics gold medalist Mariyappan Thangavelu and bronze medalist Varun Bhati, golfer SSP Chawrasia and hockey player SV Sunil.
Complete list of Arjuna Award nominees:
Saketh Myneni [tennis], Mariyappan Thangavelu (para high jump), VJ Shweta (archery), Khushbir Kaur (racewalking), Aarokiya Rajiv (track and field), Prashanti Singh (basketball), SV Sunil (hockey), Satyavrat Kadian (wrestling), PN Prakash (shooting), Jasvir Singh (kabaddi), Devendro Singh (boxing), Bembem Devi (Football), Varun Bhati (Para high jumper), Cheteshwar Pujara and Harmanpreet Kaur (cricket), SSP Chawrasia (golf).