IGU recommends Shubhankar Sharma for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna

The 24-year-old Sharma had become the youngest Indian winner on the European Tour when he claimed the Joburg Open title in December, 2017. He followed it with a win at the Maybank Championship in February, 2018.

Shubhankar Sharma has been recommended for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award by the Indian Golf Union.   -  Getty Images

Two-time European Tour winner Shubhankar Sharma has been recommended for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, country's highest sporting honour, by the sport's governing body Indian Golf Union.

The national body also recommended Udayan Mane, Rashid Khan and Diksha Dagar for the Arjuna award.

"We sent the letter to the ministry a couple weeks back, nominating Udayan Mane, Rashid Khan and Diksha Dagar for Arjuna and Shubhankar Sharma for the Khel Ratna," an IGU official told PTI on condition of anonymity.

The 24-year-old Sharma had become the youngest Indian winner on the European Tour when he claimed the Joburg Open title in December, 2017. He followed it with a win at the Maybank Championship in February, 2018.

Sharma was the first Indian to win the European Tour's Rookie of the year award in 2018. He also won the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2018 at the age of 22.

He has also represented the country in five Majors — Masters, US Open, The Open Championship (twice) and the PGA Championship.

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Among the nominees for Arjuna, Mane has made the cut for the Tokyo Olympics following the withdrawal of Emiliano Grillo of Argentina. His entry, however, will be confirmed on July 6 by the International Golf Federation.

Young Diksha is a winner of silver medal at the 2017 Deaflympics. She had represented India at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and also won on the Ladies European Tour in her rookie year in 2019 when she claimed the South African Open.

Diksha, who finished fourth at Czech Ladies Open last week, was in the running for the Tokyo Games before the pandemic. She is currently at the fifth place in the reserve list and will need a lot of permutation and combinations to make the cut.

Two-time Asian Tour winner, Rashid was the highest-ranked Indian golfer in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) at the 180th spot before COVID-19 brought the world to a standstill last year.

Mane pipped him in the race to Tokyo, emerging as the top-ranked Indian after claiming the Delhi-NCR Open Golf championship title in March this year.

Aditi Ashok, who has qualified for Tokyo Olympics, was conferred with the Arjuna last year.

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