Para shuttler Pramod Bhagat recommended for Khel Ratna by Odisha government

The State government also recommended Indian women’s hockey team vice-captain Deep Grace Ekka for the Arjuna Award.

Pramod Bhagat is all set for the Tokyo Paralympics 2021, where he will compete in the SL3 category.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Indian para shuttler Pramod Bhagat, who has qualified for the Tokyo Paralympics, has been recommended for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the country's highest sporting honour, by the Odisha government.

The department of sports and youth services (DSYS) of Odisha has also recommended the Indian women's hockey team vice-captain Deep Grace Ekka for the Arjuna Award.

"DSYS has recommended the names of #Odia para shuttler @PramodBhagat83 and current @TheHockeyIndia's vice-captain Deep Grace Ekka for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and Arjuna Award respectively, for the year 2021," the department tweeted.

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Bhagat, 33, currently ranked No. 1 in SL3 category that includes athletes who have minor impairment in one or both lower limbs, was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2019. He had won 12 gold, 5 silver and 4 bronze medals in 2019, including the World Championship title.

At the Dubai Para Badminton International earlier this year, Bhagat had claimed two golds and a bronze medal and remains hopeful of a medal at the Tokyo Paralympics, where badminton is being introduced for the first time.

Ekka, 27, on the other hand, has 150 international caps and is a vital cog in the Indian women's hockey team. She was part of the silver-medal winning Indian side in the 2018 Asian Games.

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