New Delhi: The Indian government on Monday confirmed that it will confer the country’s highest sporting honour Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award to PV Sindhu, Dipa Karmakar, Jitu Rai and Sakshi Malik for their stellar performances in their respective disciplines at international level.
The prestigious award is given for the spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports by a sportsperson over a period of four years.
While ace shuttler Sindhu and wrestler Sakshi bagged silver and bronze medals respectively at the just-concluded Rio Olympics, gymnast Dipa missed out on an Olympic medal by a whisker.
Ace marksman Jitu Rai, ranked third in the world in the men’s 10m air pistol, was one of two Indian shooters to make the final of their respective events in Rio, the other being Abhinav Bindra.
Woman tennis star Sania Mirza was the recipient of the coveted award last year.
The government has also decided to bestow the Dronacharya Award, the honour for excellence in sports coaching, to Nagapuri Ramesh (Athletics), Sagar Mal Dhayal (Boxing), Raj Kumar Sharma (Cricket), Bishweshwar Nandi (Gymnastics), S. Pradeep Kumar (Swimming, Lifetime) and Mahabir Singh (Wrestling, Lifetime).
In addition, 15 sportspersons across various disciplines will be honoured with the Arjuna Award for their consistent performance in the last four years. This list is as follows:
Rajat Chauhan (Archery), Lalita Babar (Athletics), Sourav Kothari (Billiards & Snooker), Shiva Thapa (Boxing), Ajinkya Rahane (Cricket), Subrata Paul (Football), Rani (Hockey), Raghunath V.R. (Hockey), Gurpreet Singh (Shooting), Apurvi Chandela (Shooting), Soumyajit Ghosh (Table Tennis), Vinesh (Wrestling), Amit Kumar (Wrestling), Sandeep Singh Mann (Para-Athletics), Virender Singh (Wrestling, Deaf).
Satti Geetha (Athletics), Sylvanus Dung Dung (Hockey), Rajendra Pralhad Shelke (Rowing) will be given the Dhyan Chand Award for their life time contribution to sports development.
The awardees will receive their awards from the President of India at a specially organized function at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on August 29.
Apart from a medal and a citation, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardees will receive a cash prize of Rs.7.5 lakh while Arjuna, Dronacharya and Dhyan Chand awardees will receive statuettes, certificates and cash prize of Rs.5 lakh each. (ANI)