Athlete Hima Das has been nominated for the Khel Ratna award, India’s highest sporting honour, by the state government of Assam, PTI reported on Monday.
Assam sports secretary Dulal Chandra Das sent the letter of recommendation to the sports ministry on June 5, according to the news agency.
The 20-year-old from Dhing village in Assam is one of the youngest nominees for Khel Ratna this year.
Das, India’s first track athlete to win a global title at U20 World Championship in Tampere, Finland, had a stellar breakthrough season in 2018.
Das will compete with ace javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra (who was nominated by Athletics Federation of India), wrestler Vinesh Phogat, table tennis player Manika Batra, women’s hockey captain Rani Rampal, shooter Anjum Moudgil, boxers Amit Panghal, Vikas Krishan and cricketer Rohit Sharma for country’s highest sporting honour.
The year 2018 had turned to be a memorable one for Das, who followed her U-20 world title with 400m silver, 4X400 mixed relay gold (upgraded) and women’s 4X400m gold at the Jakarta Asian Games.
She won a number of gold medals at smaller events in 2019 season where she was troubled by injuries. She was also expected to compete at the Doha World Championships but a back injury ruled her out of the prestigious championship.
Das is already a recipient of Arjuna Award, which she received in 2018.
The Khel Ratna award, named after Rajiv Gandhi, carries a medallion, a certificate and a cash prize of Rs 7.5 lakh. In 2019, the honour went to Paralympian Deepa Malik and wrestler Bajrang Punia.
(With PTI inputs)