In what is a new breakthrough for motorsport in India, ace rally driver Gaurav Gill has been listed among the 19 athletes nominated for the 2019 Arjuna Award – among the highest civilian honour for a sportsperson in the country. The Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India had put forward Gill’s name for the award on three previous occasions and 2019 marks the first time that a motorsport athlete has been nominated for the award.
Gill’s name was finalized by a 12-member selection committee that included the likes of Mary Kom, Kamlesh Mehta, Bhaichung Bhutia and Anjum Chopra. The Arjuna Award nomination has been long overdue for Gill, who has enjoyed a career in motorsport spanning nearly 20 years. In addition to racking up trophies in a number of Indian rallies and championships, he’s also successfully represented India in various international events.
Some of Gill’s accolades include winning the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) thrice – in 2013, 2016 and 2017 – and winning the Indian National Rally Championship (INRC) a whopping six times. He also holds the distinction of the winning every single Dakshin Dare rally he has participated in, with the most recent win just earlier this month. Last year, he’d stepped up to World Rally Championship 2 (WRC2) with MRF, driving a Ford Fiesta R5 in four rounds. He’s expected to participate in at least three WRC2 events this year with JK Tyre in addition to also looking at potential outings in select rounds of the 2019 European Rally Championship. He’s also competing in the INRC this year, with Mahindra Adventure.
Other athletes nominated alongside Gill include cricketers Ravindra Jadeja and Poonam Yadav, hockey player Chinglensana Singh Kangujam and footballer Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. The winners of the awards will officially be announced on September 25, 2019.