An unprecedented 11 sportspersons have been recommended for this year's rechristened Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna by the national sports award's selection committee headed by retired Supreme Court judge, Justice Mukundakum Sharma.
This is the first time that many names have been recommended for a single edition of the Awards Ceremony. Last year, the government honored a total of 74 athletes with the National Sports and Adventure Awards in different segments. The awardees included five in the Khel Ratna category and 27 for Arjuna.
This year, a total of 72 names have been recommended for the Khel Ratna, Arjuna (35), Dhyan Chand, Dronacharya (regular) and Dronacharya (lifetime). The list doesn't include names of athletes, corporates and sports promotion boards and top-performing universities recommended for the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar (RKPP), Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) trophy and Tenzing Norgay award.
Among those who have been recommended for the Khel Ratna - India's highest sporting honour - include tokyo olympics gold medallist javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, silver-winning men's freestyle wrestler Ravi Dahiya, Tokyo olympics bronze medallist woman welterweight boxer Lovlina Borgohain and men's hockey team's goalkeeper P R Sreejesh. Five para-athletes, who created history by winning gold each at the Tokyo Paralympics, have also been nominated for the Khel Ratna. These include Pramod Bhagat (para-badminton), Sumit Antil (para-javelin), Avani Lekhara (para-shooting), Krishna Nagar (para-badminton) and Manish Narwal (para-shooting).
Neeraj Chopra (athletics), Ravi Dahiya (wrestling), PR Sreejesh (hockey), Lovlina Borgohain (boxing in olympics), Sunil Chhetri (football), Mithali Raj (cricket), Pramod Bhagat (parabadminton), Sumit Antil (para- javelin), Avani Lekhara (para-shooting), Krishna Nagar (para-badminton) and Manish Narwal (para-shooting).
Arpinder Singh (triple jump), Simranjit Kaur (boxing), Shikhar Dhawan (cricket), Bhavani Devi (fencing), Monika (hockey), Vandana Katariya (hockey), Sandeep Narwal (kabaddi), Himani Uttam Parab (mallakhamb) ), Abhishek Verma (shooting), Ankita Raina (tennis), Deepak Punia (wrestling), Dilpreet Singh (hockey), Harmanpreet Singh (hockey), Rupinder Pal Singh (hockey), Surendra Kumar (hockey), Amit Rohidas (hockey) , Birendra Lakra (hockey), Sumit (hockey), Nilakanta Sharma (hockey), Hardik Singh (hockey), Vivek Sagar Prasad (hockey), Gurjant Singh (hockey), Mandeep Singh (hockey), Shamsher Singh (hockey), Lalit Kumar Upadhyay (hockey), Varun Kumar (hockey), Simranjeet Singh (hockey), Yogesh Kathuniya (para-athletics), Nishad Kumar (para-athletics), Praveen Kumar (para-athletics), Suhash Yathiraj (para-badminton), Singhraj Adhana (parashooting), Bhavina Patel (paratable tennis), Harvinder Singh (para-archery) and Sharad Kumar (para-athletics).
OP Jaisha (athletics), Divya Singh (basketball), KC Lekha (boxing), Abhijeet Kunte (chess), Davinder Singh Garcha (hockey), Vikas Kumar (kabaddi), Nir Bahadur Gurung (para sports athletics), PS Abdul Rassak (volleyball) and Sajjan Singh (wrestling) DRONACHARYA (REGULAR): Jai Prakash Nautiyal (para-shooting), Mahaveer Prasad Saini (para-athletics), Pritam Siwach (hockey), Radhakrishnan Nair (athletics), Sandeep Sangwan (hockey) ), Sandhya Gurung (boxing), Sujeet Maan (wrestling) and Subramanian Raman (table tennis).
Ashan Kuamr (kabaddi), Bhaskar Chandra Bhatt (hockey), CR Kumar (hockey), Jagrup Rathi (wrestling), S Muralidharan (badminton), Sarkar Talwar (sports cricket), Sarpal Singh (hockey), Tapan Kumar Panigrahi (swimming) and TP Ouseph (athletics).