Two-time Paralympic gold-medallist Devendra Jhajharia became the first paralympian to be recommended for the country’s highest sporting honour — the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award. Jhajharia’s name was recommended along with former Indian hockey team captain Sardar Singh.
The 36-year-old Jhajharia, who is the first Indian to win two Paralympic gold medals (Athens 2004 and Rio 2016), was the first choice of the awards selection committee headed by Justice (Retd) C K Thakkar. Jhajharia won his medals in the javelin throw (F 46) event.
Former Indian hockey team captain and midfielder Sardar Singh. (Getty Images)
The committee has picked 31-year-old hockey midfielder Sardar as its second nominee for the top honour and has suggested that both Jhajharia and Sardar be considered for the award jointly.
The final call on this would be taken by the Union Sports Ministry.
Besides, the awards selection committee has recommended 17 names for the Arjuna award.
The list includes Indian cricket team regular Cheteshwar Pujara, women’s team World Cup star Harmanpreet Kaur, Paralympic medallists Mariyappan Thangavelu and Varun Bhati, golfer SSP Chawrasia and hockey player SV Sunil.