New Delhi: For only third time in 15 years, no sportperson will be bestowed with the coveted Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna as the selection committee did not recommend any names and shortlisted 15 candidates for the Arjuna Awards.
Athletes Vikas Gowda, Krishna Poonia, Somdev Devvarman, Jeev Milkha Singh, PV Sindhu and Devendra Jhajariya were shortlisted for the country's highest sporting award.
The 12-member selection committee, headed by legendary cricketer Kapil Dev, decided not to name any sportsperson out of the seven candidates for the Khel Ratna at a meeting in New Delhi."The selection panel examined the seven names placed before them for the consideration of Khel Ratna but none of them were deserving enough to get the nod," a selection panel member was quoted by a news agency.
"We discussed each and every seven names for the Khel Ratna Award. The longest discussion was in case of on golfer Jeev Milkha Singh after Kapil mentioned his name but ultimately the panel decided against his name," the member said.
The selection panel members for the Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award included the likes of Anju Bobby George and Kunjarani Devi, both of the highest sporting honour themselves, two media persons and three from the government side, including Sports Authority of India Director General Jiji Thomson.
Shortlists: Akhilesh Varma (Archery), Tintu Luka (Athletics), HN Girisha (Paralympics), V Diju (Badminton), Geetu Ann Jose (Basketball), Jai Bhagwan (Boxing), R Ashwin (Cricket), Anirban Lahiri (Golf), Mamta Pujari (Kabaddi), Saji Thomas (Rowing), Heena Sidhu (Shooting), Anaka Alankamany (Squash), Tom Joseph (Volleyball), Renubala Chanu (Weightlifting) and Sunil Rana (Wrestling).