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Sania Mirza nominated for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award

Mirza was nominated by the Sports Ministry after the AITA missed the nomination deadline by two months. Cricketer Kapil Dev heads the awards committee.

Mirza (R) with doubles partner Martina Hingis after their victory at Wimbledon this year

The Hindustan Times has reported that India’s Sports Ministry has forwarded Doubles World No. 1 Sania Mirza’s name to the awards committee for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna. The award, India’s highest sporting honour, is awarded across sports and disciplines. 

Other applications for this year’s Khel Ratna include Vikas Gowda (discus), Tintu Luka (800m), Dipika Pallikal (squash), Devendra Jhajhariya (paralympic javelin), Sardar Singh (hockey) and Abhishek Verma (archery).

Mirza’s biggest achievement to date – her Wimbledon doubles victory, with partner Martina Hingis of Switzerland – will not be counted in evaluating her suitability for the award. She has, however, previously been conferred the Arjuna Award for her sporting prowess in 2004. 

The awards were mired in controversy last year, as no sportsperson was conferred a Khel Ratna. The committee is headed by former cricketer Kapil Dev and former billiards player Michael Ferreira. 

Mirza would have had to be nominated by the All India Tennis Association (AITA), but they missed the deadline by two months, following which the sports ministry decided to nominate her under a special clause. 

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