Rally driver Gill lost out on Arjuna only due to CWG and Asian Games
By Bharat Sharma
New Delhi, Sep 28 (PTI) Gaurav Gill missed out on the Arjuna award for the third time but he came very close to becoming India's first motorsport personality to receive the honour, revealed a selection committee member.
Being a non-Olympic sport like cricket, motorsport also doesn't have any specific points criteria and any decision made is solely down to selection committee's discretion.
An example of that was Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli, who was the deserving winner of Khel Ratna, the country's highest civilian honour.
"If 2018 was not a year of Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, Gill would have got the award. The committee unanimously felt he deserved the honour but missed only because the number of Arjuna could not exceed 20, which was already over the usual limit," a committee member told PTI on Friday.
"The committee acknowledged that motorsport is popular with the younger generation and a government recognition would go a long way in motivating the aspiring youth. I see no reason why Gill will be denied his due next year," the member added.
Indian motorsport has been going through a quiet period and an Arjuna at this stage would have provided the ideal fillip.
Gill, who made his WRC debut this year after dominating the Asia scene for the previous two seasons, is expectedly disappointed at being ignored for Arjuna again. However, he has not given up yet.
"It is really disheartening when you see polo being recognised but motorsport, which is such a dangerous sport, being ignored time and again. I love the sport and I will keep striving for more success but an Arjuna at this stage would have been great for me as well as the upcoming racing talent. They need something to aim at," said Gill, who decided against moving court on well-wishers' advice.
Unlike this year, Gill will be doing a full WRC 2 season with MRF in 2019 and is also closing in on a historic deal to compete at the Dakar Rally in January