Former Indian hockey captain Sardar Singh and Paralympic javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia, who won the gold medal in the 2016 Rio Paralympics, have been recommended for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award according to reports.
Sardar Singh without any doubt is one of the best players of Indian Hockey. He has led India to win silver medals in Commonwealth Games. He was also the captain of the team when India won the bronze medal in the 2015 Hockey World League. He was awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India, in 2015. He was the youngest player to captain the Indian hockey team when he led the side at the 2008 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
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On the other hand 36 years old, Jhajharia is the only man to win two gold medals for India in Paralympics. He won in 2004 Athens Games and last year in Rio Paralympics to set new world records. He also won World Championship back in 2013.
Jharjharia was the first choice by the committee and Sardar’s name followed after that due to the sexual harassment allegation against him by an Indian-origin British hockey player. The final would be decided by Sports Ministry.
“My hard work for the last 15-20 years has paid off. It is the biggest of all sporting honors and the credit for that goes to my teammates because without them I couldn’t have achieved what I have,” Sardar said.
There are also 17 names taken for Arjuna Awards this year. The list includes Cheteshwar Pujara, women’s team World Cup star Harmanpreet Kaur, Paralympic medallists Mariyappan Thangavelu and Varun Bhati, golfer SSP Chawrasia and hockey player S V Sunil.