Chandigarh: India`s legendary athlete Milkha Singh Tuesday was delighted with the news of hockey wizard late Dhyan Chand being recommended for the Bharat Ratna, India`s highest civilian award.
"I am delighted to hear the news that late Major Dhyan Chand has been nominated for the Bharat Ratna by the Home Ministry," the `Flying Sikh` said.
"Major Dhyan Chand was one of the finest sportsmen from India and brought several laurels to our country in hockey. I always believed that he should perhaps have been the first to receive the Bharat Ratna. Sportsmen make the finest ambassadors for the country and I`m sure the entire nation will be happy to hear about this decision to nominate him for the award," said Milkha.
Milkha said it was high time to appoint sportspersons as ambassadors and governors.
"In fact I would like to add that keeping in mind the same line of thinking, there`s no reason why a top sportsmen should not be nominated as ambassadors, governors, as members of the Rajya Sabha or as Members of Parliament because they dedicate their lives for the nation.
"They are intelligent, disciplined, work hard and at the same time understand how to handle changes and human beings. I would like to congratulate the Modi Government for this and hope to see much more initiatives" he added.
Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju informed the Lok Sabha Tuesday that his ministry had forwarded Dhyan Chand`s name to the Prime Minister`s Office (PMO) after receiving recommendations from various quarters.
Born in 1905, Dhyan Chand was nick-named the `Hockey Wizard` for his superb ball control and is considered the greatest field hockey player of all time. He won three Olympic gold medals for India between 1928 and 1936.
Dhyan Chand retired from the game in 1948. Eight years later, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan. He retired from the Indian Army with the rank of Major. He passed away in New Delhi in 1979 at the age of 79.
The sports ministry last year had recommended Dhyan Chand`s name for the Bharat Ratna but the Prime Minister`s Office (PMO) gave the award to Sachin Tendulkar, who became the youngest recipient.