Trap shooter Manvjit Singh Sandhu was adjudged Hero No 1 by the Kapil-Dev led committee which took less than two hours today to finalise the 21 names for this year’s awards. The panellists unanimously voted Manavjit for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.
Other contenders for the highest sport award of the land included shooters Samresh Jung and Gagan Narang and women’s boxing champion MC Mary Kom. But Manavjit’s performance in the year gone by was impressive.
Sample this: Besides winning the world title, the trap shooter had a World Cup silver medal, two Asian Games silver medals (both team and individual), a bronze in the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and Asian championship gold. And, above all, Manavjit held the No 1 ranking at the global level.
Manavjit will be the fourth shooter to be bestowed with the honour. Earlier recipients have been Abhinav Bindra, Anjali Vedpathak and Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore. The Khel Ratna award carries a purse of Rs 5 lakh.
As for the Arjuna Awardees, the members went by the brief and chose the “best” from the list.
For Dronacharya, disabled athlete Devender’s coach RD Singh, women boxers Lekha KC and Aswathy Mol’s coach Damodar Chanderlal and Koneru Humpy’s father and coach Koneru Ashok had better records than others.
Unlike in the past, the panellists didn’t have to argue much over the nominations for a longer period and in most cases the decisions were quick.
This year’s awardees will miss the glitter that is normally associated with the ceremony. With Rashtrapati Bhavan’s Ashok Hall undergoing renovation, Madam President Pratibha Patel will be presenting the awards at Vigyan Bhavan on August 29, the National Sports Day.