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Home > Sports > News > Report

Anju bags Rajiv Khel Ratna

Onkar Singh | September 15, 2004 17:46 IST
Last Updated: September 15, 2004 18:35 IST

Ace long jumper Anju Bobby George has been declared winner of the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna for her outstanding performances last year, during whichshewon a bronze medal at the World Athletics Championships.

Fifteen sportspersons, including Athens Olympics silver medallist Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, were named for the Arjuna Award for outstanding performances in their respective disciplines in 2003.

There was double joy for Anju as her husband and personal trainer Robert 'Bobby' George was named for the Dronacharya award, an honour conferred on coaches.

Announcing the list of awardeesin Delhi on Wednesday, Major H P S Ahluwalia, chairman of the Awards committee, said Anju will also receive a purse of Rs 500,000 along with a statuette, scroll of honour and ceremonial dress, which the Arjuna awardees will also receive along with Rs 300,000 each.

Cricketer Harbhajan Singh and former India hockey coach Rajinder Singh werenamed for the Arjuna and Dronacharya Awards respectively. However, their selection has kicked off a controversy as the ace spinner was nursing a finger injury for most of 2003 while Rajinder, a member of the1980 Moscow Olympicsgold medal-winning team,was sacked as coach of the Indian team by the Indian Hockey Federation shortly before the Athens Olympics.

Ahluwalia clarified that the BCCI had submitted only two names for consideration.

"One of them was that of spinner Harbhajan Singh and the other was of Yuvraj Singh. And we selected Harbhajan Singh on the basis of better performance," he said.

Asked what was the criterion adopted for selecting the spinner, he replied that Harbhajan had taken 151 wickets in Test matches and 174 wickets in One-Day Internationals in the last three years.

"Since only two names were sent by the BCCI we had to select one of them," he added.

He also justified Rajinder Singh's selection for the Dronacharya award.

"His name was sent by the Indian Hockey Federation and was not withdrawn by the IHF despite him being sacked. Hence, he was considered for selection," Ahluwalia explained.

He made it clear that the committee to select the Dronacharya awardees was headed by former World billiards champion Michael Ferreira, who was not present atthe press conference to announce the awardees.

Questions were also raised about the selection of Sukhchain Singh Cheema (wrestling coach) and Shokinder Tomar, wrestler. Sports scribes wanted to know if the two fulfilled the criterion to receive the Dronacharya and Arjuna awards respectively.

"As a mountaineer I had a difficult task ahead of me for selecting the candidates for these awards and it is not easy to please everyone," Ahluwalia said.

Hewas also made to read out the achievements of some of the awardees as listed in the recommendation letters by their federations.

The winners' list:

Dronachary Award: RobertGeorge (athletics), Anoop Kumar (boxing), Rajinder Singh (hockey), Sukhchain Singh Cheema (wrestling).

Arjuna Award: Soma Biswas (athletics), Madhuri Saxena (athletics), Pankaj Advani (cue sports - billiardsand snooker), M C Merrycom (boxing), Koneru Humpy (chess), Rajesh Pattu (equestrian), Devesh Chouhan (hockey), Suraj Lata Devi (hockey), Akram Shah (judo), Sanjeev Kumar (kabaddi), Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (shooting), Harbhajan Singh (cricket), Mithali Raj (cricket), Shokinder Tomar (wrestling), N M Srinivas Rao (paralympic games).

Dhyanchand Award: Labh Singh (athletics), Hardayal Singh (hockey), M D Parsuram (physically handicapped).

Tenzing Norgay National adventure awards: Bula Chodhary (Lifetime acheivement award);Brian Dermot Kharpran Daly (Land adventure);Relu Ram Thakur (Water adventure).

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy: Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.

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Number of User Comments: 13

Sub: Rajiv Gandhi Award what for?

Dear all, Anju Bobby George has won Rajiv Gandhi Khel-Ratna Award what for? In my opinion she received her award because she didn't win any ...

Posted by Shielesh Damle

Sub: anju deserved for rajeev khel ratna

Anju is deserved for it. Anybody can recognize the winner.But recognizing aginst an extra ordinary perfomance beside a failure. The distance 6.83m ,she jumped is ...

Posted by ramesh

Sub: Anju bags khel Ratna award

Why do these congressmen name every award,every scheme or any ecinimic packages after Nehru Gandhi family.Can't they find betteR AND APPROPRIATE NAMES.

Posted by Karunakaran Yendapally

Sub: And the Bharat Ratna for Sports Goes to ....

...The hundreds of officials who accompanied ( God Knows for what !! ) the Crack Olympic Contingent which we sent to Athens and came back ...

Posted by Goutom.C

Sub: Rajyavardhan deserves.

I strongly feel Rajyavardhan Singh, who was the lone winner of "a medal" in Athens, among 1.2 billion people deserves this Rajiv Khel Rathna award. ...

Posted by VoicingIndia



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