Sania Mirza has become the second tennis player to get the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, while star cricketer Rohit Sharma and ace shooter Jitu Rai are among those picked for this year's Arjuna awards. Sania, currently ranked world number one in women's doubles, made history by becoming the first Indian to clinch a women's doubles Grand Slam in partnership with Martina Hingis for the Wimbledon trophy this year.
The Khel Ratna carries a prize money of Rs 7.5 lakh along with a citation, while the Arjuna awards come with a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh and a citation. Sania follows Leander Paes to be named for the top award. Paes had been bestowed the honour way back in 1996 after his bronze medal in the Atlanta Olympics. The 28-year-old, who has won three mixed doubles Grand Slams in her career, beat competition from squash player Deepika Pallikal, discus thrower Vikas Gowda, track and field star Tintu Luka, rising shuttler P V Sindhu, and hockey captain Sardar Singh for the coveted honour.
Besides doing well on the professional circuit, Sania had also won a gold and a bronze in the mixed and women's doubles categories at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.