NEW DELHI: India’s top rally driver Gaurav Gill has hit out at the Arjuna awards selection committee after being ignored for the government honour, saying the panel should do its bit to convert a niche sport into a mass sport.
Gill, a two-time Asia Pacific Rally (APRC) Champion, argued that if disciplines like golf, carrom and cuesports can be recognised regularly by the government, why not a physically demanding sport like motor racing.
“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, who will be competing in round four of APRC in Malaysia this weekend, told PTI.
No Indian racing or rally driver has been bestowed with an Arjuna award ever. In fact, it was only in 2015 that the Sports Ministry recognised motor racing as a sport by including FMSCI in the list of national sports federations.
However, India’s first Formula One driver Narain Karthikeyan did receive Padma Shri, the country’s fourth highest civilian honour, in the year 2010.