Top Wrestlers Nominated for Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award
Top wrestler Vinesh Phogat was nominated for “Khel Ratna”. At the same time, the Olympic bound, Deepak Punia, and World Championship medallist, Rahul Aware, were nominated for the “Arjuna Award” along with Sakshi Malik and two other wrestlers by the national federation of wrestling.
Vinesh Phogat, the only Indian woman wrestler to qualify for the Tokyo Games, was the top pick. Still, surprisingly, the WFI (Wrestling Federation of India) has sent five other applications for Arjuna Award and four each for Dhyanchand and Dronacharya awards.
However, Sakshi Malik has not shown much in the past three years, but the Wrestling Federation of India has decided not to reject her candidature.
Leaving aside the strong performances, the Rio Olympic bronze medallist is struggling to get past the juniors in her weight category.
Deepak Punia, the World silver medallist, is making a transition from junior to senior category. And Rahul Aware, who won the bronze medal in Nur Sultan, are among the deserving candidates.
However, the Wrestling Federation of India has also nominated Greco Roman wrestlers Naveen and Sandeep Tomar.
It is a surprising decision taken by the WFI since the applications, like Sakshi Malik, are not rejected by the performance. However, she is already a receiver of Khel Ratna in 2016.
When asked about the entire application, Vinod Kumar, assistant secretary of WFI, said that they had returned some applications as well. The national committee will analyse all the applications, as a federation, they have done everything they could have done for the wrestlers.
The Wrestling Federation of India has also nominated Virender Kumar, who has been credited for shaping the career of Ravi Dahiya and Deepak Punia, who are other world medallists, for the Dronacharya Award along with Kuldeep Malik, the national women’s coach.
Kuldeep Malik has served a long time as a coach, who conducts the national wrestling camp in Lucknow. He has also been credited for the rise of Sakshi Malik.