Rohit Sharma among four athletes recommended for Khel Ratna Award
Indian opener Rohit Sharma is among the four athletes who have been recommended for India's highest sporting honor, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award. Apart from Rohit, the nomination list comprises of Asian Games gold medalist Vinesh Phogat, table tennis champion Manika Batra and Paralympic gold medalist Mariyappan Thangavelu. Notably, Rohit Sharma could become the fourth Indian cricketer to clinch the award.
This development comes after the National Sports Awards selection committee met on Tuesday to discuss the nominations for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna and other national sports awards. This is only the second time that four athletes have been recommended for it. In 2016, shuttler PV Sindhu, gymnast Dipa Karmakar, wrestler Sakshi Malik, and shooter Jitu Rai were collectively presented with the award.
Rohit Sharma broke a plethora of records during the consideration period (Jan 2016-Dec 2019). In 2017, the 33-year-old smashed his third double century in ODIs, thereby becoming the first batsman to do so. He also holds the record for scoring the most number of centuries (4) in T20Is. Rohit was the leading run-scorer in the 2019 World Cup with 648 runs at 81.00.
Rohit Sharma could become the fourth cricketer after Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli to be conferred with Khel Ratna. Tendulkar received the honor in 1998, while Dhoni bagged it in 2007. Besides, Kohli won the award along with weightlifter Mirabai Chanu in 2018.
Vinesh Phogat became the first woman wrestler to win an Asian Games gold medal in 2018, while star paddler Manika Batra had a phenomenal run in 2018 wherein she claimed gold and bronze medals at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games respectively. Meanwhile, Mariyappan Thangavelu scripted history at the Rio Paralympic Games when he won the gold medal in the T42 High Jump category.
The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna is India's highest sporting honor in sports and games. Notably, the recipients are selected for their outstanding performances in the field of sports over a period of four years. This year's National Sports Awards ceremony is likely to be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, wherein the list will be announced on August 29.