Wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat Recommended For Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award

Updated: 29 April 2019 13:58 IST

Vinesh Phogat won the bronze medal in the Asian Wrestling Championships in the 53 kg category by defeating Qianyu Pang from China 8-1.

Wrestlers Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat Recommended For Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award
Vinesh Phogat became the first female Indian wrestler to win gold medal in the 2018 Commonwealth Games. © PTI

Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat have been recommended for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award by the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). WFI also recommended wrestlers Rahul Aware, Harpreet Singh, Divya Kakran and Pooja Dhanda for Arjuna award. For the Dronacharya award, WFI recommended Virender Kumar, Sujeet Maan, Narendra Kumar & Vikram Kumar. Wrestling Federation of India has also recommended Bheem Singh and Jai Prakash for Dhyanchand award. The last wrestler to receive the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award was Sakshi Malik, who won the bronze medal in the 2016 Olympics at Rio de Janeiro, one of only two medals that India won at the Rio Olympics.

Last week, Bajrang Punia won the gold medal in the Asian Wrestling Championships that took place in Xi'an, China in the 65 kg category by defeating Sayatbek Okassov from Kazakhstan 12-7, and Vinesh Phogat coveted the bronze medal in the same tournament in the 53 kg category by defeating Qianyu Pang from China 8-1.

Bajrang Punia won the gold medal in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast as well as another gold medal in last year's Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, all of them in the 65 kg category. He is also set to become the first Indian wrestler to fight at the Madison Square Garden in New York City. He is currently the World No.1 in the 65 kg category.

Vinesh Phogat, who comes from an illustrious wrestling background with cousins Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari, themselves being medallists in the Commonwealth Games, became the first female Indian wrestler to win gold medals in the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. 

She was also nominated for the Laureus World Sports Awards in 2019, a first for an Indian athlete.

(With IANS inputs)

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Highlights
  • Bajrang Punia won a gold medal in the Asian Wrestling Championships
  • Vinesh Phogat won a bronze medal in the 53 kg category
  • Punia also won the gold medal in the 2018 Commonwealth Games
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