The legendary Oinam Bembem Devi, country’s woman footballer icon has been recommended for this year’s Arjuna Award. The 36 years old footballer who captained India many times was nominated by the All India Football Federation for the coveted award. She was nominated along with Jeje Lalpekhlua and goalkeeper Gurpreet Sandhu.
Bembem led led her side Eastern Sporting to win the inaugural Indian Women’s League in 2017. Among the Indian footballers still active, Deepak Mondal and Sunil Chhetri are the only duo to have won the award. If Bembem wins the award, she will become the second Indian female footballer after Shanti Mullick who bagged the award in 1983.
On the other hand, young Indian woman boxer Shamjetsabam Sarjubala has been recommended by the Boxing Federation of India for the Arjuna award. This was announced recognition to her contribution in Indian boxing. Besides her, Sonia Lather and Saweety Boora are other boxers who have been recommended for the prestigious award. Sarjubala is now ranked 4th in the world in Women’s Light Fly (45-48 kg) category while Sonia Lather and Saweety 3rd and 4th in Women’s Feather (54-57 kg) and Women’s Light Heavy (81 kg) categories respectively.
So far, Manipuri athletes have won 17 Arjuna Awards in different sports disciplines. Nameirakpam Kunjarani is the first sport person from Manipur to receive the award in 1990.