Milkha Singh defends decision on Dhoni for Khel Ratna award

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New Delhi, Aug 6 (UNI) Mahendra Singh Dhoni's name for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award might have raised a few eyebrows as there were other senior stalwarts who were in the fray for the country's highest sporting honour, but the chairman of the committee, Milkha Singh has dismissed all such claims and said there were no second thoughts about the Indian captain's selection.

''What Dhoni has done to Indian cricket in such a brief period, no other cricketer or player has done to his respective sport,'' Singh told mediapersons here last night.

''We got his nomination from the BCCI on July 27. He has been a great captain for India and he was an obvious choice for the award, no matter what people say,'' he said.

On Monday, an expert committee, headed by Milkha Singh, met to discuss the nominees and finally shortlisted Dhoni's name for leading India to the Twenty20 World Cup win in South Africa last year.

The legendary 'Flying Sikh' added that shortlisting the names of the awardees had him and 15-member expert committee under great deal of pressure.

''We used to get atleast 300-400 phone calls and people asked us to select someone or the other for the award. Some would say that he has put his application for so many years and he should be selected now.

''But I am sure we have managed to select the best and the most deserving list of sportspersons for the awards,'' he said.

Milkha Singh, one of the most extraordinary athletes that India has ever produced till date, wished luck to the Indian athletes who will represent the country in the Olympics that begins from August 8.

He, however, made it clear that expecting a medal from this lot of Indian contingent would be 'hoping against hope'.

UNI RAR CS PM1033

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