Sports

Golfers Rashid, Aditi and Diksha nominated for Arjuna Award

V Krishnaswamy New Delhi | Updated on June 04, 2020 Published on June 04, 2020

Rashid Khan, Aditi Ashok and Diksha Dagar

Of the 17 golfers honoured with the Award only three are women

Rashid Khan, the current India No. 1 and the highest world ranked Indian, is one of the three golfers, recommended for the Arjuna Awards for 2020. The other two nominees are Aditi Ashok and Diksha Dagar.

The names were sent in by the Indian Golf Union, well ahead of the deadline. The IGU is the body that recommends names, though the professional bodies, Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) and the Women’s Golf Association of India (WGAI) often send their recommendations to IGU.

As for Rashid, Aditi and Diksha, if it was not for Covid-19, there was a strong likelihood of all three making it to the Tokyo Olympic squad this year.

The 2010 Asian Games team silver medallist, Rashid, is the ranked 10th in Asia and with a world rank at 185, he is the top Indian in the world.

Rashid, who won two titles on the Asian Tour in 2014, has eight other titles on the domestic Tour. He has also been India No. 1 on domestic PGTI Tour on three different occasions, including the 2019 season. In recent months, he had a string of Top-10 finishes on the Asian Tour, before Covid-19 halted play.

According to his close friends, Rashid was delighted to be nominated for the award but chose to maintain silence. He knows the battle is a long way from being won. The names go to a special committee, which decides the names and recommends to the Sports Ministry.

Aditi Ashok, who represented India at the 2016 Olympics in her rookie year, has won three times on the Ladies European Tour, and now plays on the Ladies PGA, the highest and most competitive Tour in the world.

Diksha Dagar is a silver medallist at the 2017 Deaflympics in Turkey. An emerging talent, she also represented India at the 2018 Asian Games, before turning professional in 2019. Just like Aditi, Diksha also won on the Ladies European Tour in her rookie year in 2019 when she won the Women’s South African Open.

A total of 17 golfers have been honoured with the Arjuna Award, of which only three are women. The last lady golfer given the honour was Nonita Lall in 1987 and it has been 33 years since a female has been given the award. The other two women recipients are Anjali Desai (1972) and Sita Rawlley (1977).

The first five of the 14 men winners were all amateurs starting from the late Billoo Sethi (1961) to Ashok Malik (1963), RK Pitamber (1967), Vikramjit Singh (1973) and Lakshman Singh (1982). The first professional to get the award was Ali Sher in 1991 and that was followed by Jeev Milkha Singh in 1999. Shiv Kapur was still an amateur in 2002, but his gold medal in 2002 Asian Games, got him the award. The next six Jyoti Randhawa (2004), Arjun Atwal (2007), Gaganjeet Bhullar (2013), Anirban Lahiri (2014), SSP Chawrasia (2017) and Shubhankar Sharma (2018) were all professionals.

Published on June 04, 2020
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