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'Sportspersons should not be deprived of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award'
In spite of Indian sportspersons bringing glory to the nation in the past twelve months, none were deemed fit to receive India's highest sporting honour, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award. Seven sportspersons from different disciplines had applied for the award - Jeev Milkha Singh, Vikas Gowda, Krishna Poonia, P.V. Sindhu, Somdev Devvarman and Paralympians Devendra Jhajaria and H.N. Girisha, but the 12 member selection committee did not consider any of the applicants worthy enough.

The members of the committee included Kapil Dev, Anju Bobby George, Kunjaranui Devi, two media personnel, three government officials and SAI Director.

Ever since the inception of the award in 1991, this is only for the second instance, when no sportsperson have been chosen to receive the prestigious award. Sunita Godara, Gold medalist for Marathon, 1992 Asian championship said, ''Had there been cricketers in the list, they would have received it instantly. That is the major problem with India, where cricket is considered above everything in spite of being a C category sport in India.'' Two Indian cricketers, Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni have been conferred with this major honour in the past.

As per various reports, it was golfer Jeev Milkha Singh whose name was discussed the most by the selection committee, but decided against him as well. Sunita further added, ''If there is an award to be given, they should be given. They can also give the award to former sportspersons as well.'' But, there exists a problem here, as the sportsperson need to apply in order to be considered by the selection committee. Is this not weird?

Sportspersons like Jeev Milkha Singh, Vikas Gowda, Somdevvarman have been carrying the Indian flag on their shoulders for a long time. They might not have been world champions in their respective sport, but have been instrumental in placing India on the global map. While some youngsters are doing the same like P.V. Sindhu, who has won a number of competition against the best of the best shuttlers around the globe.

Saina Nehwal and Pulella Gopichand have received the award in the past with their incredible performance in the sport and for their contribution towards badminton. As per the Badminton Association, Sindhu is the most deserving candidate from badminton. Vijay Sinha, General Secretary of Badminton Association of India said, ''It is the decision of the government and selection committee. We are not going to interfere.''

But, the administrator feels that the award should be given to someone. He further added, ''Based on the performance, the award should be given to someone. It is going to encourage the sportsperson as well. Sportspersons should not be deprived.''

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