Indian cricket team vice-captain and opener Rohit Sharma is one of 4 athletes who have been recommended for India’s top sporting honor – the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award. Along with Rohit Sharma, Asian Games Gold Medalist Vinesh Phogat, Table Tennis Champion Manika Batra and Paralympic Gold Medalist Mariappan Thangavelu were recommended for the Khel Ratna Award.
- The move comes after the National Sports Awards selection committee met on Tuesday to decide on awards for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna and other national sports.
- The committee, which includes Virender Sehwag and Sardar Singh, met at the Sports Authority of India headquarters in New Delhi. This is only the first time since 2016 that the names of 4 athletes have been recommended for the award. Rio Olympic medalists PV Sindhu, Dipa Karmakar and Sakshi Malik as well as marksman Jitu Rai collectively received the award in 2016.
- Rohit Sharma will become the fourth cricketer after Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli to receive the Khel Ratna award.
- Tendulkar was the first Indian cricketer to win the Khel Ratna Award when he did so in 1998. Dhoni received the sporting honor after leading India to the T20 World Cup in 2007, while Virat Kohli won the award with weightlifter Mirabai Chanu in 2018.
- Vinesh Phogat became the first female fighter to win a gold medal at the Asian Games in 2018, while star paddler Manika Batra had an extraordinary year in 2018 in which she won the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games and bronze at the Asian Games in women’s singles.
- Meanwhile, Mariappan Thangavelu made history at the Paralympic Games in Rio by winning the gold medal in the high jump (T42).
- The Khel Ratna Prize was won by Paralympic athlete Deepa Malik and wrestler Bajrang Punia in 2019.
- The Ministry of Sports of the Indian government announces many sports awards such as Arjuna Prize, Eklavya Prize, Major Dhyana Chand Prize, Dronacharya Prize and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Prize.
- The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Prize is the highest sporting honor of the Republic of India. The winner of the Khel Ratna prize receives a prize of 7.5 lac rupees. This prize is awarded each year to the athletes who are the pride of the country at international events.
List of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award winners 2020
|1. Viswanathan Anand||Chess||1992|
|2. Geet Sethi||Billiards||1993|
|3. Homi de Motivala and PK Garg||Yachting||1995|
|4. Karnam Malleswari||Weightlifting||1996|
|5. Kunjurani Devi and Leander Paes||Weightlifting, Lawn Tennis||1997|
|6. Sachin Tendulkar||Cricket||1998|
|7. Jyotirmoyee Sikandar||Athletics||1999|
|8. Dhanraj Pillai||Hockey||2000|
|9. Pullela Gopichand||Badminton||2001|
|10. Abhinav Bindra||Shooting||2002|
|11. Anjali Bhagwat and K. M. Binamol||Shooting, Athletics||2003|
|12. Anju Bobby George||Athletics||2004|
|13. Rajya Vardhan ,Singh Rathore||Shooting||2005|
|14. Pankaj Advani||Billiards and Snooker||2006|
|15. Manavjit Singh Sandhu||Shooting||2007|
|16. Mahendra Singh Dhoni||Cricket||2008|
|17. M.C. Marikom, Vijender Singh, Sushil Kumar||Boxing, Boxing, Wrestling||2009|
|18. Saina Nehwal||Badminton||2010|
|19. Gagan Narang||Shooting||2011|
|20. Vijay Kumar, Yogeshwar Dutt||Shooting, Wrestling||2012|
|21. Ranjan Sodhi||Shooting||2013|
|22. Sania Mirza||Lawn Tennis||2015|
|23. P. V. Sindhu, Deepa Kamikar, Sakshi Bhai and Jitu Rai||Badminton, Gymnastics, Wrestling, Shooting||2016|
|24. Devendra Jhajaria, Sardar Singh||Javelin throw, Hockey||2017|
|25. Virat Kohli, Mirabai Chanu||Cricket, Weightlifting||2018|
|26. Bajrang Punia Deepa Malik||wrestling Athletics||2019|
|27. Rohit Sharma (nominated)||Cricket||2020|
Some interesting facts about Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award are
- It is the highest sporting honour of the Republic of India.
- It is awarded annually by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
- This award was instituted in 1991-92.
- Chess Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand was the first recipient of this award.
- From 1992 to 2019, 36 sportsmen got this award.
- The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award can be given a maximum of three persons in a year.
- Rohit Sharma will only be the fourth cricketer after Sachin Tendulkar, just retired M.S. Dhoni, and Virat Kohli, ato be conferred with Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.