Two-time Paralympic gold-medallist Devendra Jhajharia today turned into the first Paralympian to be recommended for the nation’s most noteworthy sporting honour — the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award.
Cricketers Cheteshwar Pujara and Harmanpreet Kaur, Paralympic medallists Mariyappan Thangavelu and Varun Bhati, and golfer SSP Chawrasia among 17 Arjuna awardees this year.
Javelin thrower Jhajharia, the first Indian to win two Paralympic gold medals, was the first decision of the awards selection committee headed by Justice (Retd) C.K. Thakkar.
The committee has picked 31-year-old midfielder Sardar as its second nominee for the best respect and has proposed that both Jhajharia and Sardar be considered for the award together.
Sardara Singh’s name turned into a subject of civil argument amid the meeting today because of the sexual harassment claim levelled against him by an Indo-UK British hockey player. Notwithstanding, his sporting achievements were difficult to disregard for the committee.
Indian competitors have so far won four medals (two golds, one silver and one bronze) in the Paralympic Games, which end on Sunday. After Mariyappan Thangavelu won gold in men’s T42 high jump, Varun Bhati asserted bronze in men’s T42 high jump and Deepa Malik brought home silver in women’s shotput F53 event. Spear thrower Devendra Jhajharia at that point bettered his own particular world record to win his profession’s second Olympic gold in the F46 event.
Khel Ratna recommendations: Devendra Jhajharia (Para- Athlete) and Sardar Singh (Hockey). Arjuna Awards recommendations: V J Surekha (Archery), Khushbir Kaur (Athletics), Arokin Rajiv (Athletics), Prasanthi Singh (Basketball), L Devendro Singh (Boxing), Cheteshwar Pujara (Cricket), Harmanpreet Kaur (Cricket), Oinam Bembem Devi (Football), SSP Chawrasia (Golf), S V Sunil (Hockey), Jasvir Singh (Kabaddi), P N Prakash (Shooting), A Amalraj (Table Tennis), Saketh Myneni (Tennis), Satyawart Kadian (Wrestling), Mariyappan Thangavelu (Para-Athlete) and Varun Bhati (Para-Athlete).