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Virender Sehwag and P T Usha to pick Arjuna and Khel Ratna awardees

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Akash Bhatt
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Modified 27 Jul 2017, 21:06 IST
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What's the story?

Ex-Indian cricket team opener Virender Sehwag and renowned athlete PT Usha will be part of a 12-member committee to pick this year's winners of the Arjuna and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awards.

In a separate announcement, badminton player-turned coach Pullela Gopichand and legendary Indian cueist Pankaj Advani have been named in the committee to choose recipients of the Dronacharya and Dhyan Chand Awards.

All four of these sportspeople have won the Arjuna award at some stage in their careers. Gopichand and Advani have also gone on to win the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna.

In recognition of his successful post-retirement coaching career, Gopichand was also honoured with the Dronacharya award in 2009.

In case you didn't know

The first set of Arjuna awards were given in 1961 in order to recognise outstanding achievement in sports. With it, it carries a cash prize of 5 Lakhs, a statue of the legendary Mahabharata character Arjuna and a citation.

The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award is India's highest sporting honour. Instituted in 1991, the award honours sportspersons for their "spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports over a period of four years". The award is usually conferred on one sportsperson per year, but exceptions have been made in the past.

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The Dronacharya awards seek to reward excellence in coaching. The awards were instituted in 1985 and are usually restricted to a maximum of five every year, even though there have been exceptions. The awards recognise coaching achievements over a period of four years, but one or two awards every year also seek to honour lifetime contributions.

Instituted in 2002, the Dhyan Chand award is conferred for lifetime achievement in a particular sport. The award carries a cash prize of 5 lakhs and has been awarded to 2-5 sportspersons a year since it was instituted.

The heart of the matter

The committee to select the Arjuna and Khel Ratna awardees is headed by Justice (Retd.) C K Thakkar.

Apart from Virender Sehwag and PT Usha, the committee consists of Mukund Killekar (boxing), Sunil Dabbas (Kabaddi), M R Mishra (Journalist), S Kannan (Journalist), Sanjeev Kumar (Journalist), Latha Madhvi (Para-athlete), Anil Khanna (sports administrator), Injeti Srivastava (DG, SAI) and Rajvir Singh (Joint Secretary, Sports Ministry).

What's next?

The C K Thakkar headed committee is slated to meet on 3rd August to select this year's recipients.

Author's take

All four sportspersons nominated for the selection committees are legends in their own right. We hope that the selections are fair and do not run into controversy as has often happened in the past.

Published 27 Jul 2017, 20:34 IST
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