Jitu, Dipa for Khel Ratna, Raghunath for Arjuna

Jitu, Dipa for Khel Ratna, Raghunath for Arjuna

Jitu, Dipa for Khel Ratna, Raghunath for Arjuna

Gymnast Dipa Karmakar, who became the toast of the nation by sensationally finishing fourth at the Rio Olympics, has been recommended for country’s highest sporting honour, Khel Ratna.

Alongwith Dipa, shooter Jitu Rai has also been recommended for the award. He had reached the final of the 10m air pistol at Olympics but finished eighth. However, he has performed phenomenally well in the last two years bagging a silver medal in 2014 World Championships, a gold in 2014 World Cup and gold in 2014 Asian Games.

It has been learnt that Test cricket captain Virat Kohli and sprinter Tintu Luka were also in fray for the honour.

The awards committee headed by High Court judge (retd) SK Aggarwal has finalised 13 athletes and two para-athletes for the Arjuna Award. In case, any athlete manages to win a medal at Rio, he or she would straightaway get recommended for Khel Ratna. The 23-year-old Dipa vaulted into history books in her maiden Olympics after becoming the first Indian gymnast to qualify for a final (vault). In the final against some of the finest world gymnasts, including the current favourite American Simone Biles, Dipa held her own. Her signature Produnova fetched her 15.266 points and was at the third place before Biles’ finesse pushed her to fourth.

Dipa had earlier created history by winning bronze in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, becoming the first Indian woman gymnast to do so. She also won bronze in 2015 Asian Championships. Dipa's coach BS Nandy, too, is a favourite for the Dhro­nacharya Award. 

The awards committee, which also includes India cricketer Gautam Gambhir, has named only cricketer in Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane for the Arjuna award.
Hockey dragflicker VR Raghunath, women hockey striker Rani Rampal and steeplechaser Lalita Babar are among those to have been recommended for Arjuna honour.

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