The shining and promising stars of Indian sporting arenas have been conferred with the nation's highest sporting honors by the 12-member selection committee. For the first time, five athletes from various fields have been awarded the highest honor of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award while 27 others were picked to bestow with the Arjuna Award.
The selection committee has conferred Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award to Indian cricketer Rohit Sharma, 2016 Rio Paralympic gold winner Mariyappan Thangavelu, Hockey player Rani Rampal, Table Tennis star Manika Batra, and Wrestler Vinesh Phogat. The selection recommended by the committee has been moved to Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju for his final decision.
Previously in 2016, four sport stars - gymnast Dipa Karmakar, Badminton star PV Sindhu, shooter Jitu Rai, and wrestler Sakshi Malik were awarded Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award. Rohit Sharma, who is the 33-year-old hitman, will be the fourth Indian cricketer to conferred with Khel Ratna award after Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and current captain Virat Kohli.
Sachin Tendulkar has become the first cricketer in India to bestowed with the award in 1998 following which Dhoni won the award in 2007 and Kohli in 2018. Along with these five athletes, Indian fast bowler Ishant Sharma, soccer player Sandesh Jhinghan, woman cricketer Deepti Sharma, woman boxer Lovlina Borgohain, shooters Saurabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker have been conferred with the Arjuna Awards.
Some of the stars like women's hockey team player Deepika Thakur, Kabaddi player Deepak Hooda, tennis player Divij Sharan, wrestler Rahul Aware, archer Atanu Das, badminton men's doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Golfer Aditi Ashok, Hockey player Akashdeep Singh, Madhurika Suhas Patkar of Table Tennis, wrestler Divya Kakran are among to have been conferred with the Arjuna Awards.
These two awards would be honoring top players for their achievements in their respective sporting arena and the National Sports Awards also include the Dronacharya and te Dhyan Chand honors for achievements in coaching. The awards will be given by the President of India. The Khel Ratna award comprises of a certificate, a cash prize of Rs 7.5 lakh, and a medallion. The Arjuna award will have a pack of Rs 5,00,000 and a bronze statue of mythological Arjuna.