Dipa, Jitu cleared for Khel Ratna by selection panel
Woman gymnast Dipa Karmakar, who created history by entering the vault final at the Rio Olympics before finishing fourth, and ace shooter Jitu Rai were on Wednesday recommended for the prestigious Rajiv Khel Ratna Award by the selection panel appointed by the Sports Ministry.
Dipa got the nod of the 12-member committee, which met here on Wednesday, on the basis of her stupendous performance in Rio although the deadline for sending in the recommendation to the Sports Ministry was already over.
Jitu, on the other hand, was ranked third in the world in the men’s 10m air pistol. He was one of two Indian shooters to make the final of their respective events in Rio, the other being Abhinav Bindra.
This year, Rai has won the silver medal in the 10m air pistol event at the ISSF World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan and the gold medal at the ISSF World Cup in Bangkok in 50m pistol. He was the first shooter to qualify for Rio Games after winning a silver medal at the World Championships in Spain in 2014.
Any sportsperson who wins a medal in their sport in the remaining days of the ongoing Rio Olympics will be included among those recommended for Khel Ratna, according to sources.
Kohli also missed out because the government wants to keep a few slots open in case the likes of shuttler P V Sindhu, who has reached the semifinals in the Rio Games, wins a medal. Rajiv Khel Ratna is given to the sportsperson who has produced spectacular and outstanding performance in the last four years and it carries a cash amount of Rs 7.5 lakh.
The Khel Ratna winner (s) will receive the award from President Pranab Mukherjee on National Sports Day on August 29.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that Dipa’s coach Biseshwar Nandi has been recommended for the Dronacharya Award and he is likely to get the nod after his ward’s sensational performance in Rio.