Koneru Humpy: The All India Chess Federation (AICF) nominated reigning women’s world rapid chess champion, Koneru Humpy for the prestigious, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.
The other seven players namely, S P Sethuraman, M R Lalith Babu, Vidit Gujrathi, Adhiban Baskaran, Bhakti Kulkarni, and Padmini Rout have been nominated for the Arjuna award.
Besides, coach and Grandmaster Abhijit Kunte has also been nominated for the Major Dhyanchand award.
June 21 was the earlier submission date for recommendations for the applications. However, it was extended by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for the upcoming National Sports Awards 2021. As per an official statement from the ministry, the applications from the eligible sportspersons were invited for the award and they were to be e-mailed to the authorities.
Instituted in 1991-92, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award is the highest sporting honour of India.
A source told ANI, “AICF has nominated Koneru Humpy for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award. While Vidit S Gujrathi, MR Lalith Babu, Adhiban Bhaskarani, SP Sethuraman, Padmini Rout, and Bhakti Kulkarni have been recommended for the Arjuna Award and Abhijit Kunte for Major Dhyan Chand Award.”
Humpy’s stirring career
Apart from many feathers in her hat, Koneru Humpy is a recipient of the Arjuna Award and Padma Shri. Humpy, currently ranked number three in the world, has qualified for the FIDE Women’s Candidates event to be held next year. Not only this but she also led the gold medal-winning Indian team to victory in the Online Chess Olympiad last year.
When she was 15, she had already accomplished the Grandmaster title. Climbing the ladder since then, she is presently fourth in the world among women. Having come near to winning the World Championship a few times, the 34-year-old is India’s hope for the same.
Hailing from Gudivada, Andhra Pradesh, Humpy was ranked no. 3 among women and had attained 2,539 Elo points just by the age of 14.
Her father, Koneru Ashok used to tell her about the Polgar sisters Sophie, Susan, and, Judith, – some of the top chess players in the world. In an interview with the US Chess Trust in 2011, she said, “The most important thing I learned from Judith was that she was never afraid to play with anybody. ”
India’s Chess champion, Humpy continues to hold the record of being ranked number one 16 times among female players. Besides her Elo rating remains the highest achieved by any junior girl ever.