The Sports Ministry has cleared four names for this year’s Dhyanchand Award.
The awards committee, headed by Sports Secretary Pradeep Kumar Deb, has approved the names of Syed Ali (hockey), Anil Mann (wrestling), Mary D’Souza (athletics) and Giriraj Singh (para athletics) for the award. The Dhyanchand award is given for lifetime achievement in the field of sports.
Mary D’Souza is considered among the pioneers of women athletics in India. The 81-year old runner was part of the 1952 Helsinki Olympics — the first time India sent women athletes to the quadrennial games. She won bronze in the 200m and silver in the 4x100m relay at the inaugural Asian Games in 1951 in New Delhi.
Syed Ali was a member of the Indian hockey team in the 1970s and early 80s. The left-winger is now a selector with Hockey India and is also involved in developing hockey in Lucknow.
Grappler Anil Mann is a former junior World and Asian champion. He was part of the Indian squad at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Giriraj Singh represented India at the Athens paralympics in 2004.
The names of Sunil Gavaskar and Vijay Amritraj were rejected by the committee as the duo had already been awarded the Arjuna earlier.