Sports Ministry has decided to honour the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna 2017 to Para Athlete Devendra Jhajharia and former hockey skipper Sardar Singh. Meanwhile, 17 sports personalities were honoured with the 2017 Arjuna awards, including cricketers Cheteshwar Pujara and Harmanpreet Kaur.
After the considering the recommendations of the selection committee, which included former Olympians, Arjuna Awardees, Dronacharya Awardees and Dhyan Chand Awardees, the Sports Ministry announced the winners Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna, Dronacharya and Dhyan Chand awards today.
They picked para athlete Devendra Jhajharia and Hockey player Sardar Singh for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awards.
Javelin thrower Jhajharia was the first choice of the awards selection committee headed by Justice (Retd) C K Thakkar, as he had won a gold medal in the men’s javelin throw F46 category in the Rio Paralympics.
The committee had also picked 31-year-old midfielder Sardar as its second nominee for the top honour and has suggested that both Jhajharia and Sardar be considered for the award jointly.
Sardar was honoured with the Padma Shri in 2015. He also has two Asian Games medals - gold in 2014 Incheon and bronze in 2010 Guangzhou. Sardar, who known for his high fitness levels not only in the country but in the international circuit, also has two Commonwealth Games silver medals and was included in the 18-men FIH All Star team in 2010 and 2011.
Apart from the Khel Ratna, the ministry chose 17 Arjuna awardees, which included cricketers Harmanpreet Kaur, Cheteshwar Pujara, para-athletes Mariyappan, Varun Singh Bhati and Hockey player SV Suni.
The awardees will receive their awards from the President of India in a special function which will be organised on August 29, 2017, at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
(i) Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna 2017
Shri Devendra (Para Athlete), Shri Sardar Singh (Hockey)
(ii) Dronacharya Awards 2017
Late Dr. R. Gandhi (Athletics), Mr. Heera Nand Kataria (Kabaddi), Mr. G.S.S.V. Prasad (Badminton) (Lifetime), Mr. Brij Bhushan Mohanty (Boxing) (Lifetime), Mr. P.A. Raphel (Hockey) (Lifetime), Mr. Sanjoy Chakraverthy (Shooting) (Lifetime), Mr. Roshan Lal (Wrestling) (Lifetime)
(iii) Arjuna Awards 2017
(iv) Dhyan Chand Award