Indian cricketer Ravindra Jadeja on Saturday was among the 19 sportspersons nominated for the Arjuna Award. The all-rounder’s name was finalised by a 12-member selection committee on the final day of the two-day meeting. The panel comprises the likes of Bhaichung Bhutia and MC Mary Kom among others.
Jadeja emerged as the standout player for the Men In Blue in their semi-final clash against New Zealand during the recently-concluded World Cup, which India lost by 18 runs. Jadeja played a brilliant knock of 77 from 59 balls turning the match into India’s favour.
Jadeja has been an integral part of India’s Test and ODI teams in the past few years. He is one of the key members of the Indian team that rose to world number one in Tests. The all-rounder has represented India in 41 Tests, 156 ODIs and 42 T20Is. He has amassed 3748 runs in all the three formats and has 402 wickets under his name.
Apart from Jadeja, the committee also picked 18 other sportspersons for the Arjuna Award, which included track and field stars Tejinder Pal Singh Toor, Mohammed Anas, and Swapna Barman, footballer Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, hockey player Chinglensana Singh Kangujam and shooter Anjum Moudgil.
In new developments, Paralympics silver medallist Deepa Malik was nominated for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award. Earlier in the first day, Asian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist wrestler, Bajrang Punia was added for the Khel Ratna by a 12-member selection committee on the first day of the meeting.
Deepa became the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympics when she bagged a silver in the shot put F53 category (for para-athletes who make seated throws and have full muscle power at their shoulder, elbow and wrist in the throwing arm) at 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.
She became paraplegic when a spinal tumour made walking impossible for her 17 years ago. She was previously honoured with the Arjuna Award in 2012 and Padma Shri in 2017. Last year, she shifted to javelin and discus throw and created a new Asian record in Jakarta, becoming the only Indian woman to win medals in three consecutive Asian Para Games (2010, 2014, 2018). She won a bronze each in the discus throw (F51-52-53) and javelin throw (F53-54) in the 2018 Asian Para Games.
As per guidelines, to be eligible for the award, a sportsperson should not only have had good performance consistently for the previous four years at the international level with excellence for the year for which the Award is recommended, but should also have shown qualities of leadership, sportsmanship and a sense of discipline.
The panel also nominated three names for the Dronacharya Award, including former badminton star Vimal Kumar, and three for the Dronacharya Award (lifetime category), including 2011 World Cup-winning cricketer Gautam Gambhir’s childhood coach Sanjay Bhardwaj.
Six-time world champion and Olympic bronze medallist boxer MC Mary Kom recused herself from the meeting to avoid conflict of interest as her personal coach Chhotelal Yadav was in contention for the Dronacharya Award. She attended the selection panel meeting, which nominated Bajrang for the Khel Ratna, but skipped the whole of second day’s proceedings.
List of Sportspersons nominated for various awards:
Khel Ratna: Bajrang Punia (wrestling), Deepa Malik (para-athletics)
Arjuna Award: Tajinder Pal Singh Toor (athletics), Mohammed Anas Yahiya (athletics), S Bhaskaran (body building), Sonia Lather (boxing), Ravindra Jadeja (cricket), Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (hockey), Ajay Thakur (kabaddi), Gaurav Singh Gill (motor sports), Pramod Bhagat (para sports-badminton), Anjum Moudgil (shooting), Harmeet Rajul Desai (table tennis), Pooja Dhanda (wrestling), Fouaad Mirza (equestrian), Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (football), Poonam Yadav (cricket), Swapna Burman (athletics), Sundar Singh Gurjar (para sports-athletics), Bhamidipati Sai Praneeth (badminton), Simran Singh Shergill (polo).
Dronacharya Award (regular category): Vimal Kumar (badminton), Sandeep Gupta (table tennis), Mohinder Singh Dhillon (athletics)
Dronacharya Award (lifetime category): Mezban Patel (hockey), Rambir Singh Khokar (kabaddi), Sanjay Bhardwaj (cricket).
Dhyan Chand Award: Manuel Fredricks (hockey), Arup Basak (table tennis), Manoj Kumar (wrestling), Nitten Kirrtane (tennis), C Lalremsanga (archery)
– with PTI inputs