Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has nominated javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award for the third straight year following his Arjuna Award win in 2018.
Apart from that, AFI has made four recommendations for Arjuna Awards, one for Dronacharya award and two for Dhyan Chand Awards.
22-year-old Neeraj was nominated for Khel Ratna by AFI in 2018, when he won the Arjuna Award. He was nominated again for Khel Ratna in 2019 but was not awarded the same.
Chopra has already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics with a throw of 87.86m in South Africa in January in his first competition after recovering from an elbow injury.
"We are sure that Neeraj will get the nod this time around after he missed out on being picked for the award when weightlifter Mirabai Chanu edged him out in 2018 and wrestler Bajrang Punia was chosen ahead of him last year," AFI President Adille J Sumariwalla said in a statement.
"The immensely popular athlete deserves the award for his performances ahead of the 2021 Olympics and it will motivate him to do even better."
Chopra missed the entire 2019 season due to the injury but breached the Olympic qualification mark of 85m. His last major international competition was the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games where he won gold with a national record of 88.06m.
For the Dronacharya Awards, AFI has nominated Radhakrishnan Nair while Kuldip Singh Bhullar and Jincy Philip have been recommended for the Dhyan Chand Awards.
Deputy chief coach Nair is the only Indian to complete International Coaching Enrichment Certificate Program by the International Olympic Committee with honours. "Radhakrishnan has selflessly hand-held many athletes and coaches over the past few years," Sumariwalla said.
Bhullar had won the discus throw silver medal in the 1982 Asian Games and sprinter Philip had finished fourth in the 2002 Asian Games in Busan.
(With inputs from agencies)