Former Cricketer Virendra Sehwag, Hockey legend Sardar Singh and Para Athlete Deepa Malik have been included in the 12-member selection committee for National Sports Awards,2020.
The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports has formed a Selection Committee on Friday for selecting awardees for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Dronacharya Awards, Arjuna Awards, Dhyan Chand Awards, Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar Award and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy for the year 2020.
The panel will be headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Mukundakam Sharma who is the chairperson of the committee. The awards are given away every year on the birth anniversary of hockey legend Dhyan Chand, August 29.
The Sports Ministry’s release read, “The selection committee list include eminent names from the field of Indian Sports fraternity including Virender Sehwag (Cricket), Sardar Singh (Hockey), Monalisa Baruah Mehta (Table Tennis), Deepa Malik (Para-athletics), Venkatesan Devarajan (Boxing) as well as well-known media persons including Sports Commentator Manish Batavia and Sports Journalists Alok Sinha and Neeru Bhatia.”
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“This year too we are continuing with the idea of one selection committee for all the awards as we feel too many committees will only make things difficult and create controversies,” a Sports Ministry source told PTI.
Officials from the Sports Ministry on the committee include Director General, SAI, Shri Sandip Pradhan, LS Singh, Joint Secretary (Sports Development), and Commander Rajesh Rajagopalan, CEO Target Olympic Podium Scheme.
Two additional Members who have been Dronacharya Awardees may be invited by the Chairperson while considering the nomination for Dronacharya Award, a sports ministry release read.
The National Sports Awards include the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, the Arjuna award, Dronacharya award, and the Dhyanchand award, conferred every year by the President of India at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on 29 August.
However, it is likely that the National Sports Awards function will be delayed this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic by a month or two.
“The sports awards this year will definitely be delayed because screening of applications is a tedious task which is yet to begin. But the awards will definitely be given away. There is no question of denying deserving athletes and coaches their due recognition”, a ministry source told PTI.
“Currently, public gathering is prohibited across the country due to COVID-19 so no functions are being organised at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. In the past also, the awards ceremony has been organised with delays, so in case it cannot be held on 29 August, we can hold it one or two months later. The well-being and safety of all should be the priority right now,” the ministry official added.