On Thursday, the former World champion wrestler Sushil Kumar pointed out that the dignity of annual national sports awards might be lowered as too many athletes are recommended for the awards this year. He hinted that the Selection Committee should maintain the dignity of national awards by giving awards to a limited number of athletes each year.
Nominations for Khel Ratna and Arjuna awards this year
Surprisingly, the selection panel has recommended 5 Khel Ratna and 29 Arjuna awards to the Sports Ministry. Thirty-four athletes in total are nominated by the board to recieve the national sports awards. Reacting to this, Sushil Kumar said that the pride attached to these awards should be maintained. Sushil also congratulated all the nominees, and in an interview with PTI said that being an athlete, he is happy for all receiving the prestigious award in their respective fields.
Awards received by the athletes in the past
In 2016, the government of India honored four Olympic athletes, namely, Shuttler PV Sindhu, gymnast Dipa Karmakar, shooter Jitu Rai and wrestler Sakshi Malik with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award after witnessing their remarkable performances in Rio Olympics. This year five athletes from different sporting fields are recommended by the committee for the Khel Ratna award. This list includes cricketer Rohit Sharma, wrestler Vinesh Phogat, women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal, table tennis player Manika Batra and para-athlete Mariyappan Thangavelu.
His views on nominations for prestigious awards
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award is the highest sporting honor of our country. The athletes (Sakshi Malik and Mirabai Chanu) who have received the Khel Ratna award in the past are now nominated for the 2020 Arjuna award by the panel.
Double Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar was also confused regarding this matter. He believes that the athletes who have already received the highest sporting honor in the past should not be considered for an award that sits lower on the rank.
Kumar gears up for Olympics 2021
Sushil Kumar is currently training in Chattrasal Stadium and is keen to earn a spot at the 2021 Olympics. He will have to compete with young athletes like Jitendra Kumar to secure his place in the Olympics. He is training very hard, and he will also face his old rival, Narsingh Yadav, in freestyle wrestling.