Indian athletes who missed out on Arjuna, Khel Ratna Awards in 2021
The National Sports Awards Committee has recommended a total of 11 names for the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna and 35 names for the Arjuna Award
The Indian National Sports Awards are usually handed out on the National Sports Day on 29th August every year. However, with the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics happening around the same time, the prestigious awards were pushed back by a bit this time around.
After countless applications and nominations by various federations, the National Sports Awards Committee led by former Supreme Court judge Mukundakum Sharma has recommended a total of 11 names for the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna and 35 names for the Arjuna Award.
Here, we look at some of the star Indian athletes who were unlucky to miss out on the National Sports Awards this year.
India's first ever female Grand Master, Koneru Humpy has been the flagbearer of Women's Chess in India for a long. Almost two decades after she achieved the GM title, Humpy continues to be India's best-rated woman player. The 34-year-old was nominated by the All India Chess Federation (AICF) for the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna but has been overlooked this time. The third-ranked women's player in the world, Humpy was also a vital cog in the wheel during India's golden run in Online Chess Olympiad last year.
The first Indian swimmer to earn break the 'A' qualification mark and earn a direct qualification to the Olympics, Sajan Prakash was nominated for the Arjuna Award by the Swimming Federation of India. One of the most accomplished swimmers in India, Prakash finds himself extremely unlucky to miss out on the list of 35 athletes who will be awarded Arjuna this year.
The rising Indian Formula driver, Jehan Daruvala has grown leaps and bounds in the past year. The 23-year-old earned his maiden podium F2 finish in November last year before becoming the first ever Indian racer to win an F2 race in the following month. Jehan has since finished on the F2 podium multiple times and was nominated for the Arjuna Award by the Federation of Motor Sports Club of India (FMSCI) but has been overlooked by the National Sports Awards Committee.
Bala Devi is one of the most prominent names in the field of women's football in India. The 31-year-old became the first Indian woman to sign a contract with a European Club last year. Wearing the number 10 jersey for the Scottish club Rangers, Bala Devi has since chipped in with a lot of vital contributions for the club. She was nominated for the Arjuna Award by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) but now finds herself out of contention.