The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in India honours sportspeople for their exemplary performances. Smriti Mandhana was the only player to receive the Arjun Award 2018 in cricket.
Several sportspeople were nominated for this prominent award. The award selection committee nominated two cricketers, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and leg-spinner Poonam Yadav; footballer Gurpreet Singh Sandhu; track and field players Tejinder Pal Singh Toor, Mohammed Anas and Swapna Barman; hockey player Chinglensana Singh Kangujam and shooter Anjum Moudgil.
Recommendations were invited from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and the women’s cricket team’s leg spinner Poonam Yadav and opener Smriti Mandhana were nominated by the BCCI.
From those nominations, Smriti Mandhana, the terrific opener of the Indian women’s cricket team, was awarded the Arjun Award 2018. Mandhana was awarded for her excellent batting performance, which made her the number one batswoman of the world in women’s cricket. She is known for her brilliant stroke play and power game.
Discus throw and javelin throw star Deepak Malik was awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2019, the highest award in sports. Besides, Bajrang Punia, an excellent wrestler, also won the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna.
The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) nominated Bajrang Punia and Vinesh Phogat for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2019. Bajrang Punia won the gold medal at the Tbilisi Grand Prix against Peiman Bibyani in the 65kg category of freestyle wrestling. Deepa Malik bagged bronze medals in both discus throw and javelin throw at the Asian Para Games 2018 held in Jakarta.