Captain of the Indian Football Team, Sunil Chhetri, becomes the first Indian footballer to be added on the list for the Khel Ratna award. The striker is the national team’s highest goal-scorer, bagging 80 goals in 125 appearances in a stretch of 16 years.
The 37-year-old is also currently a part of the list of active footballers with the highest international goals alongside football legend Leo Messi.
The Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award is an yearly recognition conferred by the Indian Government. It is given to athletes for their “spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports over a period of four years” at international level.
The award is the nation’s highest sporting honor. Chhetri also received the Arjuna Award in 2011 and the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award, in 2019.
Chhetri started his career in 2002 at Mohun Bagan, switching to JCT and scoring 21 goals in 48 matches. In 2010, he moved Major League Soccer’s Kansas City Wizards, becoming the third Indian player to go abroad. Returning home, he donned the colors of Chirag United and Mohun Bagan. Once more, he moved abroad to Sporting Clube de Portugal.
Other athletes, with Sunil chhetri, on Khel Ratna list
Since 2017, Sunil Chhetri has recorded approximately 28 goals in the same number of matches. The forward has claimed the Intercontinental Cup two times, in 2017 and 2018. He also got his hands on his third SAFF Championship title in 2021.
10 other sportspersons join the player from FC Bengaluru on the list of suggested for the Khel Ratna Award by their respective associations.
The list encompasses Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Neeraj Chopra and Bronze medalist, India Hockey Team goalkeeper PR Sreejesh.
The full list of the athletes in line for the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award
- Neeraj Chopra (Athletics)
- Ravi Dahiya (Wrestling)
- PR Sreejesh (Hockey)
- Lovlina Borgohain (Boxing)
- Sunil Chhetri (Football)
- Mithali Taj (Cricket)
- Pramod Bhagat (Para-Badminton)
- Sumit Antil (Para-Javelin)
- Avani Lekhara (Para-Shooting)
- Krishna Nagar (Para-Badminton)
- M Narwal (Para-Shooting)
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