"I'm hurt for not being recognised for my talent and performances, I don't know what was the criteria of selection for this award," Bajrang said.

Kohli and Mirabai Chanu named for Khel Ratna wrestler Bajrang dejected at omissionFacebook
Sports Khel Ratna Award Friday, September 21, 2018 - 09:40

The Sports Ministry on Thursday approved the names of Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli and ace weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu for the country's highest sporting honour -- Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna -- ard, which will be given away by President Ram Nath Kovind at a specially organised function at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on Tuesday.

Both Kohli and Chanu will be presented with a cash prize of Rs 7.5 lakh each apart from a medal and a citation.

Meanwhile, dejected over the denial of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, seasoned wrestler Bajrang Punia on Thursday said he was "hurt" and questioned the selection criteria for the country's highest sporting honour.

Despite winning gold medals in the Asian Games at Jakarta and the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, his name did not feature in the final list of nominees.

His list of laurels isn't limited to one season, as he had won a World Championship bronze medal in 2013 and silver in 2014.

"I'm hurt for not being recognised for my talent and performances, I don't know what was the criteria of selection for this award," he told reporters in Delhi.

"I tried calling Rathore sir's number (Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore), but he didn't even reply back. I'm going to meet him in person to enquire about the matter."

"Now my hopes are pinned on Rathore as I believe I am one of the eligible candidates for the award."

"Anyone can see my record. I have performed consistently for my country. I don't know what else is there to be done. 

"And if I don't get justice from the sports minister, I will be left with no other option than taking the legal route," he cautioned.

Talking about the other nominees, who include Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli and weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, the Haryana grappler said: "I'm not against any other athlete winning the award."

"On the contrary, I'd like to congratulate them for their achievements. But the selection process must be made transparent," he remarked.

The ministry also released the names of 20 Arjuna awardees for the year which includes star woman cricketer Smriti Mandhana, sprinter Hima Das, javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and table tennis star Manika Batra, among others.

Apart from these four, the others are Indian hockey stars Manpreet Singh and Savita Punia, long distance runner Jinson Johnson, shuttler N.Sikki Reddy, boxer Satish Kumar, golfer Shubhankar Sharma, Ravi Rathore (Polo), shooters Rahi Sarnobat, Ankur Mittal, Shreyasi Singh, paddler G.Sathiyan, tennis star Rohan Bopanna, wrestler Sumit and Pooja Kadian (Wushu).

Para-athletes Ankur Dhama and Manoj Sarkar will also be awarded the Arjuna award, that includes a certificate and a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh each.

Among the winners of the Dronacharya awards are boxing coach Chenanda Achaiah Kuttappa, Vijay Sharma (Weightlifting), A. Srinivasa Rao (TT) and Sukhdev Singh Pannu (Athletics).

The ministry also named Clarence Lobo (Hockey), Tarak Sinha (Cricket), Jiwan Kumar Sharma (Judo) and V.R. Beedu (Athletics) for the Dronacharya Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Satyadev Prasad (Archery), Bharat Kumar Chetri (Hockey), Bobby Aloysius (Athletics) and Chougale Dadu Dattatray (Wrestling) have been named for the Dhyan Chand Award.

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