The Khel Ratna has rolled out its nominations for its annual award as superstar wrestler Vinesh Phogat got in contention for the Khel Ratna awards on Tuesday as Rahul Aware, a world championship medalist and Olympic bound Deepak Punia got nominated for the Arjuna award. Also, joining them in this category is Sakshi Malik alongside two others by the national federation.
Vinesh Phogat, who remains the only woman to have secured qualifications for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, was a distinct selection. Still, the Wrestling Federation of India did the unusual by forwarding five applications for the Arjuna award and four each for the Dronacharya award.
Sakshi Malik, however, hasn’t had much to show in the last three years but got lucky with the WFI as they decided not to sideline her. Malik has dropped in her performances as she struggles to even get past the juniors category.
The only deserving candidates were world silver medal winner Deepak Punia who got promoted from the junior to the senior circuit. Rahul Aware isn’t left out as well as he has done quite well for himself in the game, which he has achieved a bronze medal won in Nur Sultan.
Many see other nominations like Sandeep Tomar and Greco Roman Wrestler Naveen so surprising since their applications aren’t backed up with strong performances. The winner will be decided this week as the annual award seek to appreciate the wrestlers in the country.
Written by: Olumide Akinnifesi