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Indian Football: Sunil Chhetri becomes the first footballer to be recommended for Khel Ratna Award

The captain, leader and legend has been in an exceptional form for India in recent history.

Indian Football: Sunil Chhetri to miss both the upcoming friendlies

Sunil Chhetri 


Tushaar Sachdeva

Updated: 27 Oct 2021 1:58 PM GMT

The Indian Football Team captain, Sunil Chhetri has become the first-ever Indian footballer to be recommended for the Khel Ratna award. The 37-year-old striker is the highest goalscorer for the national team, netting 80 goals in 125 appearances in a span of 16 years. Currently, he is also the second in the list of active footballers with the most international goals along with Leo Messi.

The Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award is an annual accolade presented by the Government of India to athletes for their "spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports over a period of four years" at the international level. This is the highest sporting honor of the nation. Prior to this, Chhetri was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2011 and the Padma Shri in 2019.

Sunil Chhetri has scored around 28 goals in as many matches since 2017 and has lifted Intercontinental Cup twice in 2017 & 2018 along with his third SAFF Championship in 2021.

Joining the FC Bengaluru player are 10 other athletes who have been recommended for the Khel Ratna Award by their respective associations. The list includes Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Neeraj Chopra and Bronze medalist, Indian Hockey Team goalkeeper PR Sreejesh as well.

Complete list of the athletes recommended for Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award

Neeraj Chopra (Athletics)

Ravi Dahiya (Wrestling)

PR Sreejesh (Hockey)

Lovlina Borgohain (Boxing)

Sunil Chhetri (Football)

Mithali Raj (Cricket)

Pramod Bhagat (Para-Badminton)

Sumit Antil (Para-Javelin)

Avani Lekhara (Para-Shooting)

Krishna Nagar (Para-Badminton)

M Narwal (Para-Shooting)

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