Its official now: Saina to get Khel Ratna
New Delhi: Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal`s name for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the country`s highest sports honour, was approved by the government which today announced the list of all the Arjuna and other award winners for the year 2010.
Apart from a medal and citation, Saina will receive a cash prize of Rs 7.5 lakh. She will be conferred the honour by President Pratibha Patil at a function at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on August 29.
The entire list of award winners had already come out in the media on July 30, the day the selection committee finalised the names and submitted it to the Sports Ministry which then gives its approval.
Former Indian hockey skipper Sandeep Singh and woman cricket captain Jhulan Goswami were among the 15 sportspersons announced by the government for the Arjuna Award for their outstanding achievements during the last one year.
Pugilist Dinesh Kumar, swimmer Rehan Poncha, world`s second youngest Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi and Olympian wrestler Rajiv Tomar also figured in the list of Arjuna awardees.
The names of the award winners were recommended by the National Sports Awards (Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna and Dhyan Chand) Selection Committee headed by P T Usha when it met in the capital late last month.
Dronacharya Award, the top recognition for coaches in the country, will be conferred on five including L Ibomcha Singh (boxing), Ajay Kumar Bansal (hockey) and Subhash B Aggarwal (billiards and snooker), a Sports Ministry release said.
AK Kutty (athletics) and Captain Chandrup (wrestling) will receive Dronacharya Award for their lifetime contributions.
The Arjuna and Dronacharya awardees will get statuettes, citations and cash prize of Rs 5 lakh each, a Sports Ministry release said.
World number two Saina has been in red-hot form in the last one year, during which she reached the semifinals of the All-England Super Series in March before winning three successive international titles in June.
Sandeep was in a superb form during India`s recent hockey tour of Europe, while seasoned pace-woman Jhulan is currently heading the bowling list of International Cricket Council`s ODI Women`s Rankings.
Dinesh had won the light heavyweight 81kg Commonwealth Championships title earlier this year, while Poncha would be India`s bet for a medal in this year`s Commonwealth Games.
Among the Arjuna awardees were national record holder in 400m hurdles Joseph Abraham and discus thrower Krishna Poonia, who is also a Commonwealth Games medal prospect.