Indian tennis sensation Sania Mirza has been recommended by the Union Sports Ministry for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.
The 28-year-old made the nation proud last month when she won her first-ever Grand Slam women's doubles title. She, along with her Swiss partner Martina Hingis, overcame the Russian duo of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 5-7, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 in the Wimbledon 2015 final to clinch the title.
Sports Secretary Ajit Sharan also confirmed the news that Sania has been recommended for the highest honour given to sportspersons for their exceptional achievement in India.
Sharan also mentioned that the green signal came from Sports Minister Sarbanada Sonowal, but he stated that the final decision to hand her the prestigious award lies at the discretion of the Awards Committee.
"We had got a late recommendation from AITA [All India Tennis Association] but the Minister accepted that and recommended the same to the Awards Committee," Sharan told PTI.
"But the final decision to give the honour rests with the Awards Committee," he clarified.
Mirza is reportedly facing competition for the prestigious award from squash player Deepika Pallikal and 800m runner Tintu Luka.
The male contenders include discus thrower Vikas Gowda, paralympic javelin thrower Devendra Jhajhariya, hockey star Sardar Singh and archer Abhishek Verma.