Trap shooter Ronjan Sodhi, the first Indian to win two back-to-back World Cup gold medals, was on Tuesday recommended for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, while star cricketer Virat Kohli was among the 15 sportspersons picked for the Arjuna award by the selection committee in New Delhi.
Rising badminton player P V Sindhu, who became the first Indian woman shuttler to clinch a bronze medal at the recently-concluded World Championships, was also in the list of 15 chosen players for the Arjuna award.
Apart from Sindhu, triple-jumper Renjith Maheshwary, who won a bronze medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games with a national record, and rising golfer Gaganjeet Bhullar were also picked for the Arjuna award this year by the selection committee headed by billiards legend Michael Ferreira.
Sodhi, who had a disastrous outing at the London Olympics last year, is a former world number one. He was a double trap gold-medallist at last year's Asian Games, besides being a silver-medallist at the Commonwealth Games.
Once his name is ratified by the Sports Ministry, the 33-year-old, who was conferred the Arjuna award in 2009, will become the seventh shooter to be honoured with the Khel Ratna.
Interestingly, it is for the third consecutive year that a Khel Ratna award has gone to a shooter. Gagan Narang had been presented the award in 2011, followed by Vijay Kumar last year.
Vijay, a London Olympics silver medallist, was the joint winner along with wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, who won a bronze at the same event.
This year's Arjuna awardees list features just one boxer, World Championship bronze medallist Kavita Chahal.
The list also includes quite a few women with veteran squash player Joshna Chinappa, former hockey captain Saba Anjum, paddler Mouma Das, wrestler Neha Rathi and shooter Rajkumari Rathore recommended for the award. Not to forget archer Chekrovolu Swuro, who was part of the silver medal-winning team in the 2011 World Cup.
The Arjuna Award selection committee was headed by three-time billiards world champion Michael Ferreira and comprised former India hockey captain Zafar Iqbal, archer Limba Ram, cricketer Ravi Shastri and table tennis player Indu Puri amongst others.
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