India’s only individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra was on Monday recommended for the Bharat Ratna, the countyry’s highest civilian award, by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI).
NRAI recommended Bindra three days after sports minister Ajay Maken announced that sportspersons would now be eligible for the top honour.
The NRAI has sent a recommendation letter to sports minister Ajay Maken in this regard.
Bindra, who is currently training in Germany, said it was a big honour to be recommended for the Bharat Ratna.
Bindra had made his maiden appearance at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, where he finished 11th. At the 2004 Athen Olympic Games, he came very close for a podium finish after shooting an outstanding qualification score of 597, but had to be content with a 7th place after the finals. He, however, created history at the Beijing Games
He also became India’s first world shooting champion after winning gold in the Zagreb edition of the World Championship in 2006.
Bindra was bestowed with Arjuna Award in 2000 and the following year was awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the highest award in the field of sports. Ever since the government amended the Bharat Ratna eligibility criteria, the names of sporting luminaries – past and present – including Sachin Tendulkar and late Dhyan Chand have cropped up.
Maken had said last week that besides hockey legend Dhyan Chand and crocket maestro sachin Tendulkar, there are several deserving sportspersons who are eligible for the Bharat Ratna as well.