NEW DELHI: Though there is a clamour for Bharat Ratna for Sachin Tendulkar, it looks like that Indian hockey legend Dhyan Chand will be the first to get the highest civilian award.
The Sports Ministry has recommended his name to the Prime Minister’s Office for conferring the Bharat Ratna on the hockey wizard who won India three Olympic gold medals in 1928, 1932 and 1936.
Dhyan Chand died in 1979.
“The letter recommending Bharat Ratna for Dhyan Chand has already been sent to the Prime Minister,” Sports Secretary P K Deb said on Friday. He said, “The Ministry has only recommended Dhyan Chand’s name for the highest honour.’’ The Prime Minister’s Office will recommend his name to President Pranab Mukherjee for approval.
Sports Minister Jitendra Singh recommended Dhyan Chand’s name after pressure by a six-member panel led by Dhyan Chand’s son Ashok Kumar who played for India in the 1970s.
Even former Indian cricket captain Bishen Singh Bedi was also part of the panel led by Ashok Kumar.
According to Ashok Kumar, “The minister assured us that he would try his best to get Dhyan Chand’s name considered for the honour. Since no other name has been recommended, so there is no conflict. We are hopeful he will get Bharat Ratna this year posthumously.’’