Sports Minister Vijay Goel refused to commit if medallists of the ongoing Rio Paralympics will be conferred with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award — the highest sporting honour in the country.
An Olympic medallist directly qualifies for the Khel Ratna award during an Olympic year but Goel said there is no such policy in place for the paralympians.
Indian athletes have so far won four medals (two golds, one silver and one bronze) in the ongoing Rio Paralympics. After Mariyappan Thangavelu (gold in men’s T42 High Jump), Varun Bhati (bronze in men’s T42 High Jump) and Deepa Malik (silver in women’s shotput F53 event) won medals in their respective events at the Rio Paralympics, javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia today bettered his own world record to win his career’s second gold in the F46 event. But none of these individuals are eligible for the Khel Ratna. We must demand that our Paralympic Medal winners who made India proud should be eligible for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.