For the first time ever, a motorsport athlete has been nominated for the Arjuna Award. A breakthrough for motorsport in India, Gaurav Gill, an ace rally driver, has been listed among the 19 athletes nominated for the Arjuna Award in 2019, revealed Autocar. Notably, the Arjuna Award is the highest civilian honour for a sportsperson in the country. The Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India had reportedly put forward Gill's name for the award on three previous occasions. A 12-member selection committee including Mary Kom, Kamlesh Mehta, Baichung Bhutia and Anjum Chopra finalised Gill's name for the honour.
The Arjuna Award has been long pending for the ace rally driver who has been a part of the sport for 20 years and has won a number of trophies in India and on the international stage.
Some of Gill's accolades include winning the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) thrice, in 2013, 2016 and 2017, as well as the Indian National Rally Championship (INRC) six times. Gill has won every single Dakshin Dare rally he has participated in. Last year he’d stepped up to World Rally Championship 2 (WRC2) with MRF, driving a Ford Fiesta R5 in four rounds. Other athletes nominated include hockey player Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, cricketers Ravindra Jadeja and Poonam Yadav, and footballer Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. The winners will be announced on September 25, reported Autocar. The Arjuna Awards are given by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to recognise achievement in sports and was started in 1961.