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2016 Rio Olympics bronze medalist Sakshi wrote in an open letter on Twitter …
Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Honorable Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju Ji. I am honored with the Khel Ratna, I am proud of it. The dream of every player is to win all the awards in his name. Players put their lives for this. I also dream that the Arjuna Award winner will appear next to my name. Which other medal should I bring for the country to be awarded the Arjuna Award? Or will I never have the privilege of winning this award in this wrestling life?
Sakshi Malik, who has been awarded the Padma Shri, the country’s fourth-highest civilian honor, has received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, India’s highest sporting honor in 2017, which is why she did not receive the Arjuna Award this time. Apart from Sakshi, Khel Ratna, weightlifter Meera Bai Chanu also applied for the Arjuna Award.
Last week, the selection committee headed by Justice (retd) Mukundakam Sharma sent the names of 29 players to the Sports Ministry for the Arjuna Award, but the final decision to award both of them to the Arjuna Award was left to Sports Minister Kiran Rijiju. There was also criticism of their names being included in the list.
The five sportspersons who received the Khel Ratna this year include star cricketer Rohit Sharma, wrestler Vinesh Phogat, Paralympic gold medalist Mariyappan Thangavelu, table tennis player Manika Batra and women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal.
The ministry has confirmed this in its formal press release. The award distribution ceremony for the first time due to the Covid-19 epidemic will be held virtual on National Sports Day on 29 August. Earlier, an award ceremony was held at Rashtrapati Bhavan.