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No Arjuna for past Khel Ratnas Sakshi, Mirabai

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Laxmi Negi
August 21, 2020 20:26 IST
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Sakshi Malik

Photograph: Kind courtesy Sakshi Malik/Twitter

The Sports Ministry, on Friday, decided against bestowing the Arjuna award on former Khel Ratna winners Sakshi Malik and Mirabai Chanu, pruning the list to 27 but accepted an unprecedented five recommendations for the country's highest sporting honour this year.

Last week, the Justice (retd) Mukundakam Sharma-led selection committee had recommended 29 names for the Arjuna Award to the Sports Ministry.


The list also included Rio Olympics bronze medal-winning wrestler Sakshi and 2017 weightlifting world champion Mirabai, but the decision on bestowing the Arjuna on them was left to the discretion of Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju.

This was due to the fact that they had already won the Khel Ratna, the country's highest sporting honour.

The strange decision to include their names raised eyebrows and attracted criticism.

While Sakshi won the Khel Ratna in 2016 for her bronze in Rio, Mirabai was bestowed with the prestigious honour in 2018, after her exploits at the world championships the previous

The five Khel Ratna winners for this year would be star cricketer Rohit Sharma, wrestler Vinesh Phogat, Paralympic gold-winner Mariyappan Thangavelu, TT player Manika Batra, and women's hockey team captain Rani Rampal, the ministry confirmed in a formal press release.

In a first, the awards will be held virtually on August 29, the National Sports Day, instead of the Rashtrapati Bhavan this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The criteria for the awards takes into consideration the athletes' performances over a four-year period.

A weightage of 80 per cent is given to athletes winning medals at various international competitions with the remaining 20 per cent left to the discretion of the panel members.

Paddler Manika Batra's recommendation for the Khel Ratna raised doubts as she has not won anything of note since the Arjuna award on the back of her exploits at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast.

During this period, her world ranking has slipped to 63, but the ministry decided against rejecting her recommendation.

The recommendation of Rani Rampal also raised questions even though she helped the Indian hockey team secure a berth at the Tokyo Olympics, besides leading the team into the final of the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, where it lost to Japan 1-2.

The sports fraternity, though, lauded the Arjuna recommendation of Winter Olympic Games legend Shiva Keshavan, who has represented India six times in the luge event at the Games from 1998 to 2018.
Keshavan has won innumerable medals for India at the international level and has several world and Asian records to his name.

With the sports ministry pressing for recognition to indigenous sport, the Arjuna Award list also included an athlete from kho-kho (Sudhakar Sarika Kale).

List of awards:


S. No. Name of the Sportsperson Discipline
1 Shri Rohit Sharma Cricket
2 Shri Mariyappan T. Para Athletics
3 Ms. Manika Batra Table Tennis
4 Ms. Vinesh Wrestling
5 Ms. Rani Hockey


A. Life - Time Category

S. No. Name of the Coach Discipline
1 Shri Dharmendra Tiwary Archery
2 Shri Purushotham Rai Athletics
3 Shri Shiv Singh Boxing
4 Shri Romesh Pathania Hockey
5 Shri Krishan Kumar Hooda Kabaddi
6 Shri Vijay Bhalchandra Munishwar Para Powerlifting
7 Shri Naresh Kumar Tennis
8 Shri Om Parkash Dahiya Wrestling

B. Regular Category

S. No. Name of the Coach Discipline
1 Shri Jude Felix Sebastian Hockey
2 Shri Yogesh Malviya Mallakhamb
3 Shri Jaspal Rana Shooting
4 Shri Kuldeep Kumar Handoo Wushu
5 Shri Gaurav Khanna Para Badminton


S. No. Name of the Sportsperson (Shri) Discipline
1 Shri Atanu Das Archery
2 Ms. Dutee Chand Athletics
3 Shri Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy Badminton
4 Shri Chirag Chandrasekhar Shetty Badminton
5 Shri Vishesh Bhriguvanshi Basketball
6 Subedar Manish Kaushik Boxing
7 Ms. Lovlina Borgohain Boxing
8 Shri Ishant Sharma Cricket
9 Ms. Deepti Sharma Cricket
10 Shri Sawant Ajay Anant Equestrian
11 Shri Sandesh Jhingan Football
12 Ms. Aditi Ashok Golf
13 Shri Akashdeep Singh Hockey
14 Ms. Deepika Hockey
15 Shri Deepak Kabaddi
16 Shri Kale Sarika Sudhakar Kho Kho
17 Shri Dattu Baban Bhokanal Rowing
18 Ms. Manu Bhaker Shooting
19 Shri Saurabh Chaudhary Shooting
20 Ms. Madhurika Suhas Patkar Table Tennis
21 Shri Divij Sharan Tennis
22 Shri Shiva Keshavan Winter Sports
23 Ms. Divya Kakran Wrestling
24 Shri Rahul Aware Wrestling
25 Shri Suyash Narayan Jadhav Para Swimming
26 Shri Sandeep Para Athletics
27 Shri Manish Narwal Para Shooting


S. No. Name of the Sportsperson Discipline
1 Shri Kuldip Singh Bhullar Athletics
2 Ms. Jincy Philips Athletics
3 Shri Pradeep Shrikrishna Gandhe Badminton
4 Ms. Trupti Murgunde Badminton
5 Ms. N. Usha Boxing
6 Shri Lakha Singh Boxing
7 Shri Sukhvinder Singh Sandhu Football
8 Shri Ajit Singh Hockey
9 Shri Manpreet Singh Kabaddi
10 Shri J. Ranjith Kumar Para Athletics
11 Shri Satyaprakash Tiwari Para Badminton
12 Shri Manjeet Singh Rowing
13 Late Shri Sachin Nag Swimming
14 Shri Nandan P Bal Tennis
15 Shri Netarpal Hooda Wrestling


S. No. Name of the Sportsperson Category
1 Ms. Anita Devi Land Adventure
2 Col. Sarfraz Singh Land Adventure
3 Shri Taka Tamut Land Adventure
4 Shri Narender Singh Land Adventure
5 Shri Keval Hiren Kakka Land Adventure
6 Shri Satendra Singh Water Adventure
7 Shri Gajanand Yadava Air Adventure
8 Late Shri Magan Bissa Life Time Achievement


1. Panjab University, Chandigarh


S. No. Category Entity recommended for Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar, 2020
1. Identification and Nurturing of Budding and Young Talent
  • Lakshya Institute
  • Army Sports Institute
2. Encouragement to sports through Corporate Social Responsibility Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Ltd.
3. Employment of sportspersons and sports welfare measures Air Force Sports Control Board
4. Sports for Development International Institute of Sports Management (IISM)
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