New Delhi, Aug 1 : Following a string of strong performances, Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza has emerged as the frontrunner to be awarded the country's highest sporting honour -- Rajiv Gandhi Khel Rat.
"Sania's me was initially recommended for the Padma Bhushan before Wimbledon. That was the time of filing the applications. But the ministry then recommended that we should nomite her for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Rat," a top All India Tennis Association (AITA) source told IANS on Saturday.
Sania also won the gold medal and the bronze medal in the mixed and women's doubles categories in the 2014 Asian Games and these two performances have also been taken it to account.
It has been understood that the ministry recommended the Hyderabadi's me to the Awards Panel which will take the fil call within a few days. However, considering that the ministry recommended to AITA to nomite Sania, the tennis star can be termed as the favourite to bag the honour ahead of the likes of squash star Dipika Pallikal, discus thrower Vikas Gowda and hockey captain Sardar Singh.
The 28-year-old has won a number of tourments this year but her most notable achievement was winning the women's doubles title with Swiss veteran Marti Hingis at Wimbledon in July.
The Hyderabadi has also received the Arju award in 2004 while two years later she was awarded India's fourth highest civilian honour -- Padma Shri. Padma Bhushan is the tion's third highest civilian honour. She has also won the mixed doubles titles at Australia Open (2009), French Open (2012) and US Open (2014). She is currently the world's No.1 ranked doubles player. IANS