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Sunil Chhetri nominated for Khel Ratna, Bala Devi for Arjuna Award

Published at :July 1, 2021 at 1:16 AM
Modified at :July 6, 2021 at 11:56 PM
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Both players are living legends of Indian football and inspire thousands of upcoming sportspersons.

India international footballers Sunil Chhetri and Bala Devi have received nominations for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and the Arjuna Award respectively. The incredible duo has been great servants to football in the country and deserve national recognition for their efforts.

Sunil Chhetri is the skipper of the Men’s national team while Bala Devi is a massively important figure of the Women’s national team.  

The Legend of Sunil Chhetri

36-year-old Chhetri is a living legend and the highest scorer for India at the international level with 74 goals in 118 games. His incredible brace in a recent World Cup qualifier against Bangladesh took him to fourth place in terms of active international goalscorers. Chhetri is also the leading Indian goalscorer in the Indian Super League with 47 goals, one short of all-time leader Ferran Corominas’ 48 strikes.

The Bengaluru FC captain has won the ISL title once in 2019. Furthermore, he has been a part of the Indian national team that won trophies like the AFC Challenge Cup (2008), SAFF Championship (2011, 2015), Nehru Cup (2007, 2009, 2012) and the Intercontinental Cup (2017, 2018).

Chhetri has previously won the Arjuna Award in 2011 and Padma Shri - the fourth-highest civilian honour - in 2019. He could become the first footballer ever to win the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award.

The inspirational Bala Devi

Bala Devi is an icon in the women’s football sphere. The 31-year-old became the first Indian woman professional footballer to play in a top flight European league. She did so after signing for Rangers in the Scottish Women’s Premier League. She also became the first to score a goal in a top flight European league. 

The striker played a crucial role in India’s SAFF Championship victories in 2010, 2014 and 2016. She also won the AIFF Women's Player of the Year award in 2014 and 2015. Bala Devi will join fellow Arjuna Awardees such as Bembem Devi, Bhaichung Bhutia, IM Vijayan and Chhetri himself among others.  

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