New Delhi, May 13 (IANS) Shooter Abhinav Bindra, the only Indian to win an individual Olympic gold, has been recommended for the Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour, by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI).
“We have recommended Abhinav’s name for the Bharat Ratna. He has become a legend in Indian shooting. His achievements are for all to see and we think he should get the Bharat Ratna,” NRAI adviser Baljeet Singh Sethi told IANS
Bindra won the gold August 11, 2008 in the 10 metre air rifle event at the Beijing Olympics with an incredible 700.5. Bindra’s gold was the first for India since the hockey team won the gold medal in the 1980 Moscow Games.
Sethi said honouring Bindra with the Bharat Ratna will encourage the next generation of Indian shooters. After Bindra’s exploits in 2008, his fellow rifleman Gagan Narang won the bronze and pistol shooter Vijay Kumar won the silver at the 2012 London Games.
“We feel Bharat Ratna for Bindra will encourage the next generation of Indian shooters,” Seth said.
NRAI president Raninder Singh, in a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office, recommended Bindra’s name.
“We hereby recommend the name of Abhinav Bindra, Olympian gold-medallist who created history by winning the first individual gold medal in 2008 Olympic Games held at Beijing. This is the only gold medal by an Indian athlete in Olympic Games and deserves the highest award of the land,” Raninder Singh said in the letter.
“He won the individual gold medal and the team silver during the 12 Asian Shooting Championship held in Doha and was also a part of the Indian contingent that won participated in Olympic Games at London in 2012.
“We strongly recommend that he may be conferred the ‘Bharat Ratna Award’ for his excellent achievement in sports,” Raninder Singh added.
Sportspersons became eligible for Bharat Ratna in 2011 after there was a clamour for Sachin Tendulkar to be honoured with the prestigious award.