Khel Ratna Award 2021: Hockey India nominates PR Sreejesh, Deepika for highest sporting honour
Hockey India has nominated Harmanpreet Singh, Vandana Katariya and Navjot Kaur for the Arjuna Award and former Indian stalwarts RP Singh and M Ch. Sanggai Ibemhal for the Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Hockey India on June 26, 2021 nominated Indian men's hockey team goalkeeper PR Sreejesh and former India women's hockey team player Deepika for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.
The federation has nominated Harmanpreet Singh, Vandana Katariya and Navjot Kaur for the Arjuna Award and former Indian stalwarts RP Singh and M Ch. Sanggai Ibemhal for the Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Further, Hockey India has nominated Coaches BJ Kariappa and CR Kumar for the Dronacharya Award.
What is the period of consideration for the award?
The period of consideration for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award is between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2020.
• PR Sreejesh had played a significant role in India's Gold Medal win at the FIH Men's Series Finals Bhubaneswar Odisha 2019.
• He had also played a key part in India getting a silver at the Hockey Champions Trophy Breda 2018 and bronze at the 2018 Asian Games.
• The Indian goalkeeper had received the prestigious Padma Shri Award in 2017. He had also received the Arjuna Award in 2015.
• Deepika has also been a vital part of the Indian women's hockey team, which had won silver at the 2018 Asian Games and at the Asian Champions Trophy 2018.
• Among the Arjuna award nominees, Harmanpreet Singh has over 100 international caps and Vandana Katariya has over 200 international caps and Navjot Kaur has over 150 international caps.
• All three players have been nominated for the Arjuna award for their sensational performances in Indian teams' victories in the last few years.
Hockey India statement
Hockey India President Gyanendro Ningombam said that it is with great pride that they are recommending two of the finest hockey players the country has seen PR Sreejesh and Deepika for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award this year.
He said that they are also happy to nominate Harmanpreet Singh, Vandana Katariya and Navjot Kaur for the Arjuna Awards and Dr RP Singh and M Ch. Sanggai Ibemhal for the Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement and coaches BJ Kariappa and CR Kumar nominated for the Dronacharya Award. He said that all these nominees have made some stellar contributions to the game of hockey in India in their respective roles.
He added saying that they have continued to help hockey grow and evolve in our country.
About Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award
• The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna is currently the highest sporting honour of India. The award is named after former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who served the office from 1984 to 1989.
• The award is conferred annually by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to honour sportspersons for their most spectacular and outstanding performance in the field of sports over a period of four years. The award was instituted in 1991–1992.
• The nominations for the given year are accepted till April 30 or the last working day of April with not more than two sportspersons nominated for each sports discipline.
• The award's first recipient was Chess Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand. In 2020, Rani Rampal received the honour in the field of Hockey.
About Arjuna award
• The Arjuna Award was the highest sporting honour of India before the introduction of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 1991–1992. The awards are conferred for outstanding performance in sports and games.
• The award is named after Arjuna, one of the Pandavas from the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata, who was depicted as a skilled archer. Arjuna is seen as a symbol of hard work, dedication and concentration in Hindu mythology.
• The award is conferred annually by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to sportspersons from all sporting fields.