Sachin Tendulkar and hockey wizard, Major Dhyan Chand are top contenders for the Bharat Ratna award in the sports category, sports minister Ajay Maken said here yesterday. The Government has modified rules to the pave way for sportspersons to be eligible for the highest civilian award of the country.

The new rules, providing eligibility of persons excelling in fields other than art, literature, science and public service for the Bharat Ratna were notified on November 16.

Norm changed
"I wrote a letter to the Home Minister on April 15. The Prime Minister and Home Minister have very kindly agreed now to change the norm," said Maken outside Parliament yesterday morning. "The two names from the sports category that struck my mind were the wizard of hockey, Major Dhyan Chand and our run machine Sachin Tendulkar 

PM's call
"Both of them, I think, should be the top contenders, but there are many other contenders for the Bharat Ratna award if it is given to a sportsperson. Ultimately, the decision has to be taken by the Prime Minister. He takes the decision and recommends it to the President," added Maken.