Three-time Paralympic medal-winning javelin-thrower Devendra Jhajharia and former cricketer Venkatesh Prasad have been named in the Selection Committee for this year’s National Sports Awards.
Retired Supreme Court Judge Justice Mukundakum Sharma has been picked as the Chairperson of the Committee, which also includes ex-world champion boxer L. Sarita Devi, decorated former shooter Anjali Bhagwat and former women’s cricket team captain Anjum Chopra, the Sports Ministry stated in a circular.
Jhajharia won a silver medal at the recent Tokyo Paralympics, adding to the two gold medals he had won in the 2004 and 2016 editions.
The Committee will be meeting in the next few days to decide the winners. This year’s awards were delayed after the Government decided to wait for India’s performance at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The highest honour is the Khel Ratna award, which was rechristened from Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna to Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna this year, followed by the Arjuna award.
The Khel Ratna carries a prize money of Rs. 25 lakh, while the Arjuna comes with a prize money of Rs. 15 lakh.
For coaches, the Dronacharya award is there. The annual honours also include the Lifetime Achievement award, the Rahstriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar and the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) trophy for the year 2021.
The Selection Committee also includes hockey coach Baldev Singh, Sports Authority of India Director General Sandip Pradhan, and senior journalists Vijay Lokapally and Vikrant Gupta.