WFI nominates Bajrang, Vinesh for Khel Ratna

Bajrang Punia

The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has recommended Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award.

Both Bajrang and Vinesh have had a phenomenal run in the last couple of years. Bajrang, who recently won the Asian Championships title for the second time, had bagged gold medals in Commonwealth Games and Asian Games and silver in World Championships to become World No 1 in men’s freestyle 65 kg category.

Vinesh won gold in the Asian Games and became the first Indian woman to achieve the feat. She won bronze in the Asian Championships recently after moving to new weight category of 53 kg.

Bajrang’s ambition to receive Khel Ratna last year ended in disappointment. The award went to India cricket captain Virat Kohli and weightlifter Mirabai Chanu. Bajrang called it unfair and even threatened to move court.

The WFI has also recommended the name of 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Rahul Aware, and Greco-Roman wrestler Harpreet Singh, who recently won silver in Asian Championships for the Arjuna award.

Among women grapplers, Divya Kakran, bronze medallist in 2018 Commonwealth and Asian Games and 2019 Asian Championships, and Pooja Dhanda, 2018 World Championship bronze medallist and 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medallist were nominated for Arjuna.

The WFI has also recommended Virender Kumar, Sujeet Maan, Narendra Kumar and Vikram Kumar for the Dronacharya award.

For Dhyanchand award, the lifetime achievement award, the federation has recommended the names of Bheem Singh and Jai Prakash. The WFI were expecting some more entries for the awards by Monday evening and will be updating the list accordingly.

The Boxing Federation of India (BFI), who has shortlisted the name of the candidates, is expected to finalise them on Tuesday.

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