Hockey India on 1 May 2017 recommended senior player and former captain Sardar Singh for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, India’s highest sporting honour. In 2008, Sardar Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee was the youngest player to captain India when he led the Indian side at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. He played his debut match for India in the junior team during Poland tour in 2003-04.
In 2006, he was promoted to the senior men side of the National Hockey team and his first match in senior team was against Pakistan. In 2010 and 2011, he was part of the 18-men FIH All Star team. In 2012, he was conferred with the Arjuna Award. In 2015, he was honoured with Padma Shri. In addition to Sardar’s name, the Hockey India had recommended names of some other players for the Arjuna Award, the Dhyan Chand Award and the Dronacharya Award.
Recommendations for Arjuna Award include SV Sunil, Dharamvir Singh and Deepika. Recommendations for Dhyan Chand Award include RP Singh and Sumrai Tete. Recommendations for Dronacharya Award include Coaches Sandeep Sangwan and Romesh Pathania. Sunil, considered to be the fastest men on the pitch, is a part of the senior men’s team. He had also served the team as its Vice Captain. Dharamvir Singh was part of the Asian Games gold medal winning team.
Singh was also the part of the Indian squad that won the silver medal at the Commonwealth Games and Bronze at the Azlan Shah Cup in 2015. Deepika was instrumental in India’s first ever win at the Women’s Asian Champions trophy of 2016. RP Singh who was recommended for the Dhyan Chand Award has represented India at the 1986 and 1990 World Cups. On the other hand, Sumrai Tete was the member of the gold medal-winning team at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Fames.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has nominated Cheteshwar Pujara and Harmanpreet Kaur for the Arjuna Award. Pujara is known for his stupendous play during the last Test season for India. Kaur is a member of India’s women cricket team. A committee, formed by the Sports Ministry, will decide on the recommendations made by respective sports federation.