Devendra Jhajharia along with Jhajharia to receive country’s highest sporting honour Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award
Paralympian Indian star Devendra Jhajharia, who clinched gold in men’s F46 javelin throw at the Rio Olympics, will receive country’s highest sporting honour Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award. Along with Jhajharia, former Indian hockey skipper Sardar Singh, who was honoured with the Arjuna Award in 2012, will be honoured with the prestigious medal.
The prestigious award is given for the spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports by a sportsperson over a period of four years. Jhajharia, who also clinched the gold medal in the javelin event at the 2004 Athens Paralympics with a record throw of 62.15 metres, became the first Indian to bag two gold medals at the Paralympics after he broke his own world record to win the top honours at the Rio Olympics.
The Rajasthan-born athlete, with an amputated left hand, improved upon it with an attempt of 63.97 metres at the Olympic Stadium (Engenhao) in Rio de Janeiro. Jhajharia was also awarded the Arjuna award in 2004 while he also became the first Paralympian to receive the Padma Shri in 2012. Meanwhile, Sardar, who led the side to the bronze medal in the 2015 Hockey World League, has also guided India to two successive silver medal finishes in the Commonwealth Games.
Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, Indian women’s cricket team all-rounder Harmanpreet Kaur, Paralympic medallists Mariyappan Thangavelu and Varun Bhati, and golfer SSP Chawrasia are among 17 players who will be rewarded with Arjuna awrad this year. Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag and former sprint queen PT Usha were among the 12-member committee who picked this year’s Khel Ratna and Arjuna awardees.
The committee, headed by Justice (retd) C K Thakkar, had Mukund Killekar (boxing), Sunil Dabbas (Kabaddi), M R Mishra (Journalist), S Kannan (Journalist), Sanjeev Kumar (Journalist), Latha Madhvi (Para athlete), Anil Khanna (sports administrator), Injeti Srinivas (DG, SAI) and Rajvir Singh (joint Secretary, Sports Ministry) as other members.