After a great sporting year, that saw Indian win several accolades in different sports and sporting events around the globe, a huge number of 11 athletes have been recommended for the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award by the national sports award committee. According to the sources of TOI, the committee is headed by a retired Supreme Court Judge, Justice Mukundakum Sharma.
Last year, around 74 sportspersons were honored with different awards in which just included Khel Ratana and 27 were for Arjuna Category. This year, however, the total number might have decreased, but the inductees for Khel Ratna and Arjuna have increased tremendously. This year a total of 72 names has been recommended of which 11 are for Khel Ratna while 35 are for Arjuna Award. Athletes and players recommended for Khel Ratna include the likes of Tokyo Olympic medalist: Gold winner Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, Silver winning wrestler Ravi Dahiya, Bronze winning boxer Lovlina Borgohain, and Bronze winning Men’s hockey team’s Goal Keeper PR Sreejesh. The remainder of the list has the names of para-athletes from Tokyo Paralympics: Pramod Bhagat, gold medalist in para-badminton; Sumit Antil, gold medalist in javelin throw; Avani Lekhara gold medalist in 10-meter air rifle standing; Krishna Nagar, gold medalist in para-badminton; and Manish Narwal gold medalist in mixed 50-meter pistol shooting.
Apart from the athletics, the list also has the names of the Indian Women Cricket team’s Captain Mithali Raj, who has spent more than 15 years in the service of her nation. She is also the leading run-scorer in all three formats in cricket. She is also the recipient of the Arjuna Award in 2003 and Padma Shri in 2015. The Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri is also on this list, under his able leadership India recently won the SAFF Championship. Chhetri too has been a recipient of the Arjuna award and Padma Shri in 2011 and 2019 respectively.