The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has nominated Asian Games gold medallists Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia's names for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award.
Both Bajrang and Vinesh have been the flagbearers of Indian wrestling in the past couple of years, winning laurels for the country in their respective categories. Vinesg and Bajrang bagged gold medals in their respective categories at the Asian Games last year. Bajrang floored Daichi Takatani of Japan to win gold in the 65kg Men's freestyle category. On the other hand, Vinesh defeated Yuki Irie of Japan in the 50kg category to become the first-ever Indian woman to win a wrestling gold at the Asian Games, Both Vinesh and Bajrang also bagged gold medals in their respective categories at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
It is the highest sporting honour in the country and is awarded annually by the Sports Ministry for outstanding achievements in the field of sports over a period of four years in the international circuit. The Arjuna award recognises outstanding achievement by an individual in the field of sports. Both performances in the year for which the award has been recommended and previous four years' performances at the international arena are taken into consideration for the honour.
The recommendations made by WFI recommended are- Rahul Aware, Harpreet Singh, Divya Kakran and Pooja Dhanda for Arjuna award. Virender Kumar, Sujeet Maan, Narendra Kumar & Vikram Kumar for Dronacharya award and Bheem Singh and Jai Prakash for Dhyanchand award