Wrestling Federation of India will nominate Asian Games gold medallist Vinesh Phogat for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.
The ace Indian wrestler, who has also booked a ticket for the Tokyo 2020 Asian Games, was also among the Khel Ratna nominees last year as well when fellow wrestler Bajrang Punia was picked for the biggest sports honour in the country.
Vinesh has been a consistent performer for India with two Commonwealth Games gold, one Asian Games gold and bronze each, one World Championships bronze, as well as three Asian Championships silver and four bronze medals under her belt.
“We will send Vinesh’s application on Monday for Khel Ratna. She will be a strong contender. But we have not yet decided on Arjuna award application because we have received many applications. The WFI President will have a look and decide whose application is to be forwarded to the ministry,” WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar has told national PTI.
“We still have time till June 3. But most likely the names will be sent tomorrow (Monday),” he added.
Veteran Sakshi Malik, a Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games bronze medallist, has also reportedly sent her application for the Arjuna Award even though she had been struggling with her form of late.
Sakshi though had been a Khel Ratna recipient, jointly with gymnast Dipa Karmakar and shooter Jitu Rai in 2016 for their Olympics heroics. The seasoned pro, however, has not even been able to make it to the Indian team for Olympic qualifying events, twice losing to teenaged Sonam Malik.
The applicants for Arjuna Award in wrestling also include 2019 World Championship silver medallist Deepak Punia, Rahul Aware and Sandeep Tomar.