New Delhi, July 19: Union Sports Minister Jitendra Singh has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to confer Bharat Ratna to hockey legend of yesteryear Dhyan Chand. In fact, the sports ministry has chosen the hockey wizard over ace cricketer of contemporary time Sachin Tendulkar.
Names of both sporting icons had come up for discussion in a recent meeting where the hockey player ultimately prevailed over the cricketer. Dhyan Chand, who died in 1979, was an integral part of India's golden period at the Olympics. He was a member of the team which had won gold at the 1928, 1932 and 1936 Olympics.
What worked more in favour of Dhyan Chand is that Tendulkar is still an active sportsperson and will have all opportunity to earn the country's highest honour in the future. Tendulkar, 40, is currently two short of 200 test matches and is the first man on the planet to make 100 international centuries.
In December 2011, the government had overlooked a collective plea to back Dhyan Chand for the award. The man is, however, much near to the award this time and will be the first sportsperson ever to win the award once the president approves the proposal. The Bharat Ratna is normally conferred to social workers, litterateurs, politicians and musicians.