New Delhi, June 27: Veteran India goalkeeper PR Sreejesh and former women's team player Deepika were on Saturday nominated by Hockey India for this year's prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.
Besides the duo, vice-captain of India's Tokyo Olympics-bound men's team Harmanpreet Singh and women's team members Vandana Katariya and Navjot Kaur were nominated for the Arjuna awards. The national federation also nominated RP Singh and Ch Sanggai Ibemhal for the Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement, while coaches BJ Kariappa and CR Kumar were recommended for the Dronacharya Award.
According to a statement issued by HI, the period of consideration for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award is between January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2020. During that period, the 35-year-old Sreejesh, who will be playing in his third Olympics and probably last, has played a key role in India's silver medal win at the 2018 Hockey Champions Trophy in Breda, bronze medal at the 2018 Asian Games and gold at the 2019 FIH Men's Series Finals in Bhubaneswar. Sreejesh has received the Arjuna award in 2015 and the prestigious Padma Shri recognition in 2017.
Deepika, on the other hand, was a vital part of the Indian women's hockey team, which won the silver medal at the 2018 Asian Games and at the 2018 Asian Champions Trophy. Dragflick sensation Harmanpreet has over 100 international caps while Vandana has over 200 international caps. Navjot boasts of over 150 international appearances.
Speaking about the recommendations for the National Sports Awards, HI president Gyanendro Ningombam said, "It was a very proud moment for all of us when Rani won the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award last year and it is with great pride that we are recommending two of the finest hockey players the country has seen - PR Sreejesh and Deepika - for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award this year.
"We are also happy to nominate Harmanpreet Singh, Vandana Katariya and Navjot Kaur for the Arjuna Awards. They have produced some exceptional performances for the Indian team in the last few years."
The National Sports Awards are given to the country's sportspersons by the President of India on the occasion of National Sports Day on August 29 every year to celebrate hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand's birthday.
All the prizes carry a trophy along with a citation and cash rewards.