Indian para shuttler Pramod Bhagat, who has qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics, has been recommended for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the country’s highest sporting honour, by the Odisha government.
The Indian women’s hockey team vice-captain Deep Grace Ekka was also recommended for the Arjuna Award by the department of sports and youth services (DSYS) of Odisha. The department has recommended the names to the sports ministry.
“DSYS has recommended the names of #Odia para shuttler @PramodBhagat83 and current @TheHockeyIndia’s vice-captain Deep Grace Ekka for the prestigious and Arjuna Award respectively, for the year 2021,” the department tweeted.
DSYS has recommended the names of #Odia para shuttler @PramodBhagat83 and current @TheHockeyIndia's vice-captain Deep Grace Ekka for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and Arjuna Award respectively, for the year 2021.
Good luck to both! 👍🏼 pic.twitter.com/PLbCypO7z8
— Odisha Sports (@sports_odisha) July 5, 2021
Bhagat, aged 33, is currently ranked No. 1 in the SL3 category. This category includes athletes who have minor impairment in one or both lower limbs. He was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2019. In 2019, he had won 12 gold, 5 silver and 4 bronze medals, including the World Championship title.
Bhagat had claimed two golds and a bronze medal at the Dubai Para-Badminton International earlier this year and remains hopeful of a medal at the Tokyo Paralympics, where badminton is being introduced for the first time.
On the other hand, Ekka, 27, has 150 international caps and is a key player in the Indian Women’s hockey team. She was a part of the silver-medal winning Indian side in the 2018 Asian Games.