India cricketers Ravindra Jadeja and Poonam Yadav on Saturday were a part of a list of 19 nominees for the Arjuna Award this year.
India football goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Asian Games Champions – heptathlete Swapna Barman and shot putter Tejinderpal Singh Toor – also made the cut. Among para athletes, badminton’s Pramod Bhagat and Sundar Singh Gurjar were the only representatives. Gurjar won the silver medal for javelin and a bronze medal in discus in the Para Asian Games last year. Bhagat has had a dream year so far, winning five gold medals.
Rising star Pooja Dhanda was the only wrestler to make the list, Sonia Lather the only boxer while badminton’s sole representative was B Sai Praneeth. Sprinter Mohammed Anas was also recognised for his efforts over the past year and so were kabaddi ace Ajay Thakur, hockey player Chinglensana Singh Kangujam and shooter Anjum Moudgil.
Deepa joins Bajrang for Khel Ratna
Paralympics silver medallist Deepa Malik was nominated for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award along with Asian and Commonwealth Games champion wrestler Bajrang Punia.
The name of 48-year-old Malik, who won a silver in the shot put F53 category in the 2016 Rio Paralympics, was added for the Khel Ratna by a 12-member selection committee on the second day of the two-day meeting.
World No 1 wrestler in 65kg, Punia was nominated for the country’s top award on Friday by the panel headed by Justice Mukundakam Sharma.
Six-time world champion boxer Mary Kom recused herself from the meeting to avoid conflict of interest as her personal coach Chhotelal Yadav was in contention for the Dronacharya Award.
As per guidelines, to be eligible for the award, a sportsperson should not only have had good performances consistently for the previous four years at the international level with excellence for the year for which the Award is recommended, but should also have shown qualities of leadership, sportsmanship and a sense of discipline.
The panel also nominated three names for the Dronacharya Award, including former badminton star Vimal Kumar, and three for the lifetime category.