New Delhi: The ministry of youth affairs and sports (department of sports) has invited nominations for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Arjuna Award and other national sports awards for the year 2020 amid the nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The sports ministry on Monday (May 4) began the process of inviting nominations for country’s top sports awards. This time, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the nominations from various sports associations including the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will be received via email.

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“Due to Iockdown on account of outbreak of COVID-19, hard copies of nominations are not required to be sent. Scanned copies of the nominations duly signed by the applicant and recommending authority may be sent,” the sports ministry said.

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The last date to submit nominations is June 3, 2020 (Wednesday) (11.59 pm). For Khel Ratna and Arjuna Awards, performances between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2019 would be taken into consideration.

“To be eligible for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports by a sportsperson over a period of four years immediately preceding the year during which award is to be given will be considered for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award for excellence in Sports & Games at International level i.e. Olympic/Paralympics/Asian/Commonwealth Games/Championships/World Cup/World Championship and equivalent recognized international tournaments. Accordingly, sports achievements for the period 1st January 2016 to 31 December 2019 will be taken into consideration,” the sports ministry said. 

For Arjuna Awards, the sports ministry said, “To be eligible for the award, a sportsperson should have had not only good performance consistently for the previous four years at the international level but also should have shown qualities of leadership, sportsmanship and a sense of discipline. Accordingly, sports achievements for the period is 1st January 2016 to 31st December, 2019 will be taken into consideration.

“Sportspersons who have been penalized or against whom enquiry is pending/ongoing for use of drugs/substances banned by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) based on a sample collected by the National Anti Doping Agency (NADA) or any other agency authorized by WADA and tested by National Dope Testing Laboratory or any other WADA accredited laboratory, will not be eligible for the Award.”

Every year, the process of nominations begins in the month of April. This time it was delayed due to the coronavirus crisis. All sports activities have been suspended in the country and India is under a lockdown until May 17.