Two-time European tour winner Shubankar Sharma has been nominated for the Rajiv Gandhi Hel Ratna Award, the highest sporting honor in the country, by the governing body of the Indian Golf Union.
The national authority also recommended Udayan Mane, Rashid Khan and Diksha Dagar for the Arjuna Award.
“We sent the letter to the ministry a few weeks ago, nominating Udayan Mane, Rashid Khan and Diksha Dagar for Arjuna and Shubankar Sharma for Hel Ratna,” an IGU official at PTI said on condition of anonymity.
The 24-year-old Sharma became the youngest Indian winner on the European tour when he claimed the Joburg Open title in December 2017. He followed him with a victory at the Maybank Championship in February 2018.
Sharma was the first Indian to win the rookie of the year award at the 2018 European Tour. He also won the Asian Order of Merit in 2018 at the age of 22.
He has also represented the country in five majors – Masters, US Open, The Open Championship (twice) and PGA Championship.
Among the nominees for Arjuna, Manet made the acronym for the Tokyo Olympics after the withdrawal of Emiliano Grillo from Argentina. However, his entry will be confirmed on July 6 by the International Golf Federation.
The young Diksha won a silver medal at the 2017 Deaflympics. She had represented India at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and also won the European Ladies’ Tour in her new year in 2019 when she claimed found in South Africa.
Diksha, who finished fourth at the Czech Ladies Open last week, was in the race for the Tokyo Games before the pandemic. She is currently fifth in the reserve list and will need many permutations and combinations to make the cut.
A two-time winner of the Asian Tour, Rashid was the highest-ranked Indian golfer in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) at 180th place before COVID-19 stopped the world last year.
Manet won it in the race to Tokyo, coming out as the highest-ranked Indian after claiming the title of Delhi-NCR golf champion in March this year.
Aditi Ashok, who qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, was appointed to Arjuna last year.