for badminton star Saina Nehwal
and recognition for football after eight years were the highlights of the recommendations for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Arjuna Awards made by two specially-constituted panels here on Friday.
It must have been extremely disappointing for wrestler Ramesh Kumar, the only World championship medallist in the entire list of Khel Ratna and Arjuna award nominees. He had won a freestyle bronze at Herning, Denmark in September last year, a good 42 years after Vishambhar Singh won a silver in freestyle. World championship medals have been rare in Indian sport.
Hockey coach A.K. Bansal was recommended for the Dronacharya Award. The selection panel, headed by hockey great Ashok Kumar, also picked L. Ibomcha Singh (boxing), Subhash Agarwal (billiards and snooker), A.K. Kutty (athletics) and Capt. Chand Roop (wrestling).
Kutty got the award after many futile bids and mainly because of changed rules allowing for two life-time awards.