Rohit Sharma, Mariyappan Thangavelu and 3 other sports stars to get Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award
By Vivek Raj | Galatta | Aug 21, 2020, 05:30 pm
Indian cricket team vice-captain and opening batsman Rohit Sharma, para-athlete Mariyappan Thangavelu, Indian women's hockey team captain Rani Rampal, table tennis champion Manika Batra and wrestler Vinesh Phogat will be receiving India's highest sporting honour - the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award for 2020. Furthermore, it has also been announced that cricketers Ishant Sharma and Deepti Sharma, shooter Manu Bhakar, athlete Dutee Chand are among 27 sportspersons who will be presented with the Arjuna Award.
The National Sports Awards selection committee met on Tuesday to finalize the contenders for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna and other national sports awards. The meeting was held at the Sports Authority of India headquarters in New Delhi, with the committee including former Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag and retired hockey player Sardar Singh.
Rohit Sharma will be the fourth cricketer to be conferred with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award after Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli. Tendulkar went on to be presented with the Khel Ratna Award in 1998, with Dhoni receiving the sporting honour after leading the Indian cricket team to victory in the T20 World Cup in 2007, followed by Virat Kohli being bestowed with the distinction in 2018.
Tamil Nadu para-athlete Mariyappan Thangavelu will also be awarded with India's highest sporting honour and this will be his second big distinction after winning the gold medal in the 2016 Rio Paralympics, in the T42 high jump. Vinesh Phogat garnered the reputation of becoming the first woman wrestler to win an Asian Games gold media in 2018, while star table tennis player Manika Batra enjoyed a mighty successful 2018 by winning the Commonwealth Games gold medal and Asian Games bronze in the women's singles. Indian women's hockey team captain Rani Rampal's name was included late and at the last moment and has become only the third hockey player including the first female hockey player to secure the honour.