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Punia nominated for Khel Ratna

 NEW DELHI, Aug 16: Asian and Commonwealth Games gold-medallist wrestler Bajrang Punia was on Friday nominated for the country’s highest sporting honour – the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, a year after he threatened to move court for not getting his due.

His name was finalised by a 12-member selection committee on the opening day of a two-day meeting. The panel comprises the likes of Bhaichung Bhutia and MC Mary Kom among others and is headed by Justice (Retd) Mukundakam Sharma.

“Bajrang has been nominated for the Khel Ratna award. His name was a unanimous choice,” a source close to the development told PTI.

The source also said that the panel may add another athlete for the top honours on Saturday besides finalising the names for the Arjuna and Dronacharya awards.

Bajrang had threatened to move court after he was snubbed for the Khel Ratna award last year despite being a gold-medallist in both the Asian and Commonwealth Games.

On getting the nod on Friday, Bajrang asserted that he is a deserving candidate of the award.

“My job is to train hard and compete hard. My focus has always been on my performance and not awards. But the recognition does come your way when you do well,” Bajrang told PTI from Georgia, where he is training for the World Championships. – PTI

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