Sania Mirza, currently ranked number one in women's doubles, became the second tennis player to be recommended for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna after Leander Paes. A Sports Ministry-constituted awards committee made the recommendation.
The committee headed by Justice V K Bali, the retired Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court, also recommended 17 names for the Arjuna awards, including those of Jitu, Rohit Sharma, hockey player P R Sreejesh, gymnast Dipa Karmakar athlete M R Poovamma, wrestling duo of Bajrang and Babita, boxer Mandeep Jangra and shuttler K Srikanth.
All the recommendations will be sent to Sarbananda Sonowal, the Sports Minister, for final decision. After confirmation, names will be revealed to public and the awards will be given away on 29 August, the National Sports Day, by the President Pranab Mukherjee. The Khel Ratna is associated with Rs 7.5 lakh prize money and citation, while the Arjuna awards come with Rs 5 lakh cash prize and a citation.
Sania Mirza - First Indian to grab a women's doubles Grand Slam
Earlier, Sania partnered with Martina Hingis for Wimbledon 2015 and became the first Indian to grab a women's doubles Grand Slam, winning three mixed doubles Grand Slams in her career.
The Hyderabad girl bagged gold medal and the bronze medal in the mixed and women's doubles categories respectively during the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
Sania who is favorite for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, won the Arjuna award in 2004. In 2006, she also won India’s fourth highest civilian honor, the Padma Shri.