Sehwag, Sardar in selection panel for National Sports Awards

The national sports awards are given away every year on August 29, the birth anniversary of hockey icon Dhyan Chand.

Virender Sehwag delivers the M. A. K. Pataudi lecture at the BCCI Awards. (File Photo)   -  PTI

Retired Supreme Court Justice Mukundakam Sharma will head the selection committee for finalising this year’s Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna and other sports awards.

The Union Sports Ministry named Virender Sehwag (cricket), Sardar Singh (hockey), Monalisa Baruah-Mehta (table tennis), V. Devarajan (boxer) and Deepa Malik (para athletics), as part of the committee.

Others are, the Sports Authority of India Director General Sandip Pradhan, Joint Secretary L.S. Singh and Cdr. Rajesh Rajagopalan of Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS), besides three journalists - Manish Batavia, Alok Sinha and Neeru Bhatia.

Two Dronacharya awardees may be invited while considering nominations for the same.

The panel will also pick names for Dhyan Chand award, Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar (RKPP) and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad trophy.

- Record number of aspirants -

With the ministry allowing self-application and extending the deadline during the lockdown, a record number of entries have been received, with the SAI undertaking the arduous vetting process. As many as 42 people have applied for the Khel Ratna, 215 for Arjuna, 81 for Dhyan Chand, 137 for Dronacharya and around 30 institutions for the RKPP.

Meanwhile, due to the pandemic, uncertainty remains over the holding of the Awards function at Rashtrapati Bhawan on August 29, the National Sports Day.

While it is possible to convene a video conference of selection committee members, the hosting of a function in these troubled times seems difficult, with all the advisories pertaining to travel, quarantine and other restrictions in place.

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