India opener and limited-overs vice-captain Rohit Sharma has been awarded with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award for 2020. Sharma is the fourth cricketer to achieve the feat after Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, and Virat Kohli. Indian women’s team player Deepti Sharma has been conferred with Arjuna Award.
Apart from Rohit, table tennis champion Manika Batra, wrestler Vinesh Phogat, women hockey team captain Rani Rampal, and para-athlete Mariyappan Thangavelu will also be honoured with Khel Ratna.
Vinesh has been the only woman wrestler to have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics while Rani Rampal played a massive role in helping India secure a place in the Tokyo Olympics.
Cricketer Rohit Sharma, para-athlete Mariappan Thangavelu, table tennis champion Manika Batra, wrestler Vinesh Phogat & hockey player Rani to get Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award. pic.twitter.com/WwUOrGXqfT— ANI (@ANI) August 21, 2020
“It is an amazing feeling when your hard work is rewarded, and I believe this award will serve as a great motivation for me and players like me to keep striving for bigger feats and make the country proud,” Rani said in a release issued by Hockey India.
Mariyappan who is the only the third Indian para-athlete to be awarded the Khel Ratna award has won the gold medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in men’s high jump T42 category before adding the bronze at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai last year.
Manika Batra became the first Indian women paddler to have won an individual gold at the Commonwealth Games.