More than one sportsperson to get Khel Ratna


Beijing Games bronze medallists, boxer Vijender Singh and wrestler Sushil Kumar along with four-time women's world boxing champion M.C. Marykom have been recommended for the Khel Ratna.
Sports ministry sources said Monday that all the three sportsperson deserve the award for their outstanding performances as none of them could be overlooked.
Last year after Marykom was overlooked for the Khel Ratna, sports ministry M.S. Gill assured the Manipuri boxer that she will get her due.
"Marykom has already been assured by the sports ministry and both Vijender and Sushil can't be ignored after their Beijing showing. The selection committee considered all the factors in  nominating them, leaving it to the ministry to decide whether all three should be given the Khel Ratna as a special case," the sports official said.  
This would not be the first time more than one sportsperson would be receiving the Khel Ratna. Twice in the past two sportspersons were picked for the award. In 1996-97, tennis star Leander Paes and weightlifter Kunjarani Devi were the joint recipients while shooter Anjali Vedpathak and athlete K.M. Beenamol were given in 2002-03.    
The selection committee headed by former table tennis player Indu Puri also nominated badminton sensation Saina Nehwal, the first Indian to win a Super Series event, shooter Ronjan Sodhi and cricketer Gautam Gambhir for the Arjuna Award.   

Olympic medallist Sushil's coach Satpal and former All England Badminton champion and Saina's coach Pullela Gopichand are two among the five coaches, who have been nominated for the Dronacharya Award.
List of awardees:
Rajiv Khel Ratna: M.C. Marykom (boxer), Vijender Kumar (boxer) and Sushil Kumar (wrestling)
Arjuna Award: Mangal Singh Champia (archery), Sinimol Paulose (athletics), Saina Nehwal (badminton), L. Saritha Devi (boxing), Tania Sachdeva (chess), Gautam Gambhir (cricket), Ignatius Tirkey (hockey), Surinder Kaur (hockey), Pankaj Shirsat (kabaddi), B. Prabhu (physically challenged), Satish Joshi (rowing), Ranjan Sodhi (shooting), Poulami Ghatak (table tennis), Yogeshwar Dutt (wrestling), G.L. Yadav (yatching)
Dronacharya Award: Baldev Singh (hockey), Jaidev Bisht (boxing), Satpal (wrestling), Pullela Gopichand (badminton) and Udaikumar (kabaddi).

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