Sodhi to be honoured at National Sports Awards

New Delhi, Aug 30 (IANS) Double trap shooter Ronjan Sodhi will be conferred the country's highest sporting honour - Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna - at the National Sports Awards ceremony to be held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here Saturday.

President Pranab Mukherjee will present Arjuna, Dronacharya, Dhyan Chand and Rashtriya Khel Protsahan awards.

Cricketer Virat Kohli is one of the 15 athletes recommended for the Arjuna Award besides shuttler P.V. Sindhu, who will miss the function as she will be in Mumbai for the Indian Badminton League final.

The 33-year-old Sodhi will be the seventh shooter after Abhinav Bindra (2001-02), Anjali Bhagwat (2002-03), Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (2004-05), Manavjit Singh Sandhu (2006-07), Gagan Narang (2010-11) and Vijay Kumar (2011-12) to be awarded Khel Ratna.

Saturday will also be special for Nagaland archer Chekrovolu Swuro, who will become the first Arjuna Awardee from the north-eastern state.

The felicitation usually takes place on the National Sports Day Aug 29 but it was postponed because of Sports Minister Jitendra Singh's unavailability.

The selection process for the awards was mired by controversy. The selection committee had recommended Sodhi for Khel Ratna but the decision did not go down well with discus thrower Krishna Poonia and paralympic high jumper H.N. Girisha, who also staked their claim for the top award. After days of suspense, the sports ministry eventually stuck to the choice of the panel.

Full award list:

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna: Ronjan Sodhi

Arjuna Awards:

Chekrovolu Swuro (Archery)

Renjith Maheshwary (Athletics)

P.V. Sindhu (Badminton)

Kavita Chahal (Boxing)

Rupesh Shah (Snooker and Billiards)

Virat Kohli (Cricket)

Abhijeet Gupta (Chess)

Gaganjeet Bhullar (Golf)

Saba Anjum (Hockey)

Rajkumari Rathore (Shooting)

Joshna Chinappa (Squash)

Neha Rathi (Wrestling)

Dharmender Dalal (Wrestling)

Mouma Das (Table Tennis)

Amit Kumar Saroha (Athletics)

Dronacharya Awards:

Poornima Mahato (archery)

Mahavir Singh (boxing)

Narinder Singh Saini (hockey)

K.P. Thomas (athletics)

Raj Singh (Wrestling)

Dhyan Chand Awards:

Mary D'souza Sequeira (athletics)

Syed Ali (hockey)

Anil Mann (wrestling)

Girraj Singh (para sports, athletics)

Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar:

Community Sports Identification and Nurturing of Budding Young Talent: U.K. Mishra, Founder and President, National Sports Academy, Allahabad

Financial Support for Sports Excellence: Services Sports Control Board

Establishment and Management of Sports Academies of Excellence: Pullela Gopichand Academy of Badminton, Hyderabad

Employment of Sportspersons and sports welfare measures: Petroleum Sports Promotion Board

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