Gaurav Gill is a veteran figure in the world of motorsports. The Indian rally driver, however, still continues to remain an unknown face in his own country. The 35-year-old has been ruling the national rally scene since 2007 and also has two Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) titles.
Still after being the numero uno of the sport in India, the Arjuna Award continues to elude him. Question arises now is if the Government of India indeed gives any importance to motorsports as such.
Gill has spoken up on the issue and has lambasted the Arjuna Awards committee, something which tennis star Rohan Bopanna also took recourse to, last week.
"I would call them games (golf, carrom and cuesports), not even a sport with due respect to the people who have received the awards in these disciplines," Gill has been quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India on Tuesday.
"It is only when the authorities consider racers for Arjuna awards, motorsport will gain popularity and will become a career option for masses. It cannot be the other way around.
"In my sport, I have been competing with best in the business but still there is no support."
The Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) got recognised as a national sports federation only in 2015 by the Sports Ministry. Gill, meanwhile, has been winning titles in rallies since the late 2000s.
His major achievements:
- Indian National Rally Championship titles -- 2007, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2015
- Asia-Pacific Rally Championships titles -- 2013, 2016
Gill, presently with Team MRF, is the driver of a Skoda Fabia R5. He is looking for a successful APRC title defence as he is set for competition in the fourth round of the 2017 rally in Malaysia this weekend.
His co-driver at Team MRF is Stephane Prevot of Belgium.