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Ravi Dahiya's request is genuine; give him Khel Ratna and Arjuna together: WFI

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By Chetan Sharma

New Delhi, Oct 30 (IANS) The new poster boy of Indian wrestling Ravi Dahiya would be honoured with Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award this year as he has been nominated by the committee recently along with other sportspersons. However, the Olympic silver medallist Ravi is ‘neither happy, nor sad’ with the nomination.

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According to the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), Ravi has written a letter to the federation, sharing his reservations on the nomination.

“He (Ravi) is happy that his name was considered for the highest sports award, but at the same time, he is disappointed as well. Ravi has actually applied for the Arjuna award, on the basis of his previous performances (before Tokyo Olympics achievement)… not for Khel Ratna. He is confident of winning gold medals in future events and wants to be considered for Khel Ratna then, but right now Arjuna is what he is asking for,” a senior WFI official told IANS.

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“Like Sakshi (Malik) was conferred the Khel Ratna after the 2016 Rio Olympics and when she applied for Arjuna last year, her plea was rejected by the committee saying that ‘she had already got a bigger award (Khel Ratna) then what is the need for Arjuna’. So, Ravi believes that he won’t get Arjuna in future and that’s why he has requested the WFI to share his concern (with the Sports ministry).

“Every athlete wants to win all these awards. (Wrestler) Sushil Kumar had the Arjuna and Khel Ratna, among others. So, athletes have this hunger of winning all the awards,” he said.

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The official further said that the grappler should be given Khel Ratna and Arjuna together if the government allows it. “One from the government (Khel Ratna) for his historic achievement in Tokyo, and one (Arjuna) for which he has applied. He is not asking for double cash rewards. Money is not something which he is demanding. Or, the government (should) give him an assurance that he will be given the Arjuna in future,” he added.

As per reports, Tokyo Olympics gold medal-winning javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra and Ravi Dahiya were picked for the prestigious Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award apart from nine other athletes on Wednesday.

Olympic bronze-winning pugilist Lovlina Borgohain, footballer Sunil Chhetri, cricketer Mithali Raj, hockey player PR Sreejesh were also picked for the award. Paralympic shooter Avani Lekhara was included among the five para-athletes who were nominated for the Khel Ratna.

–IANS

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