Following a string of strong performances, World No.1 doubles player and Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza was on Tuesday recommended for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna – the country’s highest sporting honour.
This comes as a recognition for the Hyderabad-born athlete who is also the first Indian woman to achieve the number one rankings in doubles along with a host of victories in major tennis tournaments.
The sports-ministry named panel considered Sania’s name ahead of the likes of squash star Dipika Pallikal, discus throwers Vikas Gowda and Seema Punia, hockey captain Sardar Singh, and shuttler Kidambi Srikanth.
Sania won the gold medal and the bronze medal in the mixed and women’s doubles categories in the 2014 Asian Games and these two performances have also been taken it to account.
The 28-year-old has won a number of tournaments this year but her most notable achievement was winning the women’s doubles title with Swiss veteran Martina Hingis at Wimbledon in July.
The Hyderabadi has also received the Arjuna award in 2004 while two years later she was awarded India’s fourth highest civilian honour — Padma Shri. Padma Bhushan is the nation’s third highest civilian honour.
She has also won the mixed doubles titles at Australia Open (2009), French Open (2012) and US Open (2014). She is currently the world’s No.1 ranked doubles player along with her partner, Hingis.