Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat in contention for Khel Ratna award
Asian Games 2018 gold medalists Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat are in the race for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award. The duo excelled in Indonesia in their respective wrestling events. Punia has filed his nomination via the Wrestling Federation of India. Vinesh, meanwhile, is set to be considered by the Sports Ministry. Here's more on the same.
Sports Minister, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore will be analyzing all athletes' performances at the Asian Games in the first week of September. Post that, the Sports Ministry will be recommending names for National Sports Awards to the selection committee. Usually, the National Sports Awards ceremony is held on August 29, but this year it has been postponed to September 25.
According to reports, the Wrestling Federation of India confirmed that Bajrang has filled the form. "Bajrang has filled his form for the Khel Ratna Award through the federation and he is a deserving candidate for the award after his brilliant performances in CWG and Asiad." The WFI also added that both Punia and Vinesh can win the award because they are strong contenders.
Besides the two wrestlers, India cricket team captain Virat Kohli has already been nominated. Then there is 20-year-old javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who claimed gold in both Commonwealth Games and the 2018 Asian Games. He has also been nominated for the Arjuna award.
Vinesh is a two-time CWG gold medalist and she claimed the top prize at the ongoing Asian Games 2018 in Indonesia. She also bagged a bronze in 2014 Asian Games. Punia, too, has won gold medals this year at the CWG and Asian Games respectively. He won silver medals in the previous editions of both the international events.