The Boxing Federation of India on Monday nominated world championships silver-medallist Amit Panghal and the seasoned Vikas Krishan for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, picking only Olympic-bound names as its nominees for the annual honours.
The BFI has nominated world bronze-winning trio of Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) and Simranjit Kaur (64kg) and Manish Kaushik (63kg) for the Arjuna awards.
In its nominations for the Dronacharya awards, the BFI has finalised the names of national women’s coach Mohammed Ali Qamar and assistant coach Chhote Lal Yadav. Yadav is also closely associated with six-time world champion M C Mary Kom.
For Dhyan Chand award (lifetime achievement), BFI recommended 2008 Asian Boxing gold medallist and two-time World Championships silver medallist Usha Nagisetty.
As the only female boxer to have been invited for demonstration bouts in the 2009 Men’s World Boxing Championship in Milan, Nagishetty has been the pathbreaker for women’s boxing. She had coached the women boxers from 2013-2017.
Panghal (52kg), also an Asian Games champion, has not won any national sports award. He is being nominated for the Arjuna award for the past three years but has not been considered by the selection committee because of a 2012 “inadvertent” dope offence.
In a letter to the sports minister Kiren Rijiju, Panghal, who became India’s first male boxer to win a world championship silver last year, said that athletes should not have to plead their case for an award by nominating themselves.
“The current process is that a sportsperson has to send application and then sports committee selects on the basis of these applications. Award selection is also based on a discriminative decision of sports committee members who hold no accountability,” he had said in the letter.
“The Army is pushing my case this year and I hope the dope violation won’t come into the picture because that was an inadvertent intake at the youth level. I have been performing consistently, I do deserve to be considered,” added Panghal.
Commonwealth and Asian Games gold-medallist Krishan (69kg) won the Arjuna award in 2012. He has returned to the amateur circuit to focus on winning an Olympic medal after a brief stint as a professional boxer. He is a former World Championships bronze medallist and has been in good form with his haul of a gold medal from the 2018 Commonwealth Games and a couple of bronze medals from the Asian Games and Asian Championships.
The last day for filing nominations is Wednesday.
The Khel Ratna award, named after former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, carries a medallion, a certificate and a cash prize of Rs 7.5 lakh and the Arjuna awardees are given Rs 5 lakh each along with citations. In 2019, para-athlete Deepa Malik and wrestler Bajrang Punia won the nation’s top sports award.
Among boxers, Mary Kom and Vijender Singh have previously won the Khel Ratna.
After nominations, a panel selected by the sports ministry finalises the winners based on a points system in which the Olympic and world championship medals get precedence.