Sehwag, Sardar in12-member selection panel for National Sports Awards

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Former India cricketer Virender Sehwag and hockey stalwart Sardar Singh were on Friday included in a 12-member committee constituted by the sports ministry to select this year’s National Sports Awards winners.

Just like last year, the ministry opted for a single selection committee to pick the awardees among both athletes and coaches and it will be headed by Retired Supreme Court Justice, Mukundakam Sharma.

Also there in the panel is Paralympic silver-medallist Deepa Malik.

“This year too we are continuing with the idea of one selection committee for all the awards as we feel too many committees will only make things difficult and create controversies,” a Sports Ministry source told PTI.

The other members of the committee include former table tennis player Monalisa Baruah Mehta, boxer Venkatesan Devarajan as well as sports commentator Manish Batavia and journalists Alok Sinha and Neeru Bhatia.

The national sports awards are given away every year on August 29, the birth anniversary of hockey icon Dhyan Chand.

The panel will also have representation from the Sports Ministry, including Sports Authority of India Director General Sandip Pradhan, Joint Secretary (Sports Development) L S Singh and Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) CEO Rajesh Rajagopalan.

“Two additional members who have been Dronacharya Awardees may be invited by the Chairperson while considering the nomination for Dronacharya Award,” a sports ministry release stated.

This year the awards function might be delayed by a month or two because of the COVID-19 pandemic but a final decision on the matter is still awaited.

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