New Delhi, Aug 16 : Ace Indian wrestler and Asian and Commonwealth Games gold-medallist wrestler Bajrang Punia was on Friday nominated for the country’s highest sporting honour -the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award.
The 12-member selection committee, comprising Bhaichung Bhutia, M C Mary and others, finalised Punia's name for his consistent performance in the field of wrestling and his contribution in bringing laurels to the country.
Expressing his happiness over the nomination, Bajrang told UNI, '' I am very happy that I have been selected for the Khel Ratna. I assure the countrymen that I will try my level best to win a medal for the country at the World Championship and Tokyo Olympics next year''.
Earlier in April, Punia, along with Vinesh Phogat, was recommended by the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) for the prestigious award. Recently, Punia defended his title at the Tbilisi Grand Prix as he won the gold medal by defeating Iran's Peiman Bibyani in the 65kg final of the men's freestyle competition.
Bajrang also marked his authority in the Asian circuit by winning the Asian Wrestling Championships in Xi'an, China , earlier this year.
The World Number 1 wrestler had last year won the gold medal in the 65-kg freestyle event at the Asian Games held in Jakarta while he had also won the gold medal in the same category at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
He is also a two-time medallist at the World Championships and a strong medal hope for India at next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
Last year, Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli and weightlifter Mirabai Chanu were awarded with the Khel Ratna Award. (UNI)