Vijay, Yogeshwar for Khel Ratna

Vijay Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt were on Saturday jointly recommended for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, India's highest sporting honour.

Shooting News: Vijay Kumar

The names of pistol shooter Vijay Kumar, who won a silver in the 25m rapid fire event at the London Olympics and Yogeshwar, who bagged a bronze in 60kg free style event, were selected by the Arjuna Awards and Khel Ratna Committee, headed by Athens Olympics silver medallist shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.

Cricketer Yuvraj Singh, who is preparing to stage a comeback after recovering from a rare germ cell cancer, is among the 25 sportsperson, who have been nominated for the Arjuna Award.

The final list of award winners is expected to be announced in a couple of days by the Sports Ministry.

Generally, the names submitted by the Committees are accepted by the Ministry.

Hockey mid-fielder Sardar Singh, wrestler Geeta Phogat, and Narsingh Yadav, shooters Annu Raj Singh and Omkar Singh, shuttlers P Kashyap and Ashwini Ponappa, archers Deepika Kumari and Bombayla Devi are among Arjuna Award winners, according to a reliable source.

 "I got the honour for the highest achievement in sports. I had spoken to the HP CM Prem Kumar Dhumal from London and he forwarded my nomination. Now finally the world has taken note of me as it's biggest achievement of my career. Earlier also I have won many medals. I am happy to be honoured," Vijay told PTI.

Yogeshwar, who hails from Haryana, said the honour would motivate him to do even better in future.

"It is a proud moment for me. I am thankful to the people of the country and to all my well wishers who have shown great faith in me. The immediate recognition of the feat is even more delightful. It will definitely motivate me to do well for my country in the future events," Yogeshwar told PTI.

"It is not only a great thing for wrestling but also for the entire sports, as it will inspire the budding athletes to bring laurels to their country," Yogeshwar added.

Shuttlers P Kashyap had made waves with his stupendous show in men's singles by becoming the first Indian to reach men's singles quarter-finals.

Sardar Singh's sparkling performance was the lone bright spot in the Indian hockey team's pathetic show at the Games.

It has also been learnt that squash player Dipika Pallikal, who on Friday became the first Indian to reach semifinals of a Gold Series event in Canberra, Australia, will also get the Arjuna award.

The 15-member Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award Committee included noted sportspersons such as Akhil Kumar (boxing), Khajan Singh (swimming), Baichung Bhutia (football) and Ravi Shastri (cricket) among others besides a few bureaucrats.

The Dronacharya Awards Committee is headed by former hockey player Aslam Sher Khan and had sports personalities such as Rajkumar Sangwan (boxing), Dhanraj Pillai (hockey), Morad Ali Khan (shooting), Karnam Malleswari (weightlifting) and Bahadur Singh (athletics) among others.



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