The All India Tennis Association (AITA) is set to nominate Asian Games medallists Ankita Raina and Divij Sharan for the Arjuna Award and is deliberating on sending former India Davis Cup team coach Nandan Bal for the Dronacharya or Dhyan Chand award.
“Yes that is what we are planning to do. We are not considering anyone else for it. There is no point because they are not going to give all the awards to tennis,” AITA secretary general Hironmoy Chatterjee told IANS.
“Might as well try for the ones who are eligible so that the award committee can judge them on their merits and decide. I feel all three are strong candidates.”
Ankita is India’s top-ranked women’s singles and doubles player. She won the bronze medal in women’s singles at the 2018 Asian Games. She played eight matches in five days at the Fed Cup and won three singles and three doubles matches and helped India seal a historic play-off spot. She also achieved her career-highest rank of 160.
Divij Sharan won the gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games with partner Rohan Bopanna and was India’s top-ranked double’s player in October 2019 before Bopanna reclaimed the position.
“We have time till June 3. We now need the candidates to fill up the details and submit. They have to give full details and after that we will send accordingly,” said Chatterjee.
AITA is yet to decide on whether to send 60-year-old Bal’s name for the Dhyan Chand award or the Dronacharya.
“I have asked him to see where he qualifies according to the eligibility. Whether it be Dhyan Chand or the Dronacharya. We had earlier sent his name for Dronacharya but he didn’t get it,” said Chatterjee.