2019 marked a new era for Indian motorsport after the Federation of Motorsports Clubs of India (FMSCI) was recognised as the national motorsport federation by the government of India. It also allowed Gaurav Gill, a multiple APRC and INRC champion, to be awarded the coveted Arjuna Award. The Arjuna is the highest sporting honour awarded by the Government of India for Outstanding Performance in Sports and Games. For 2021, FMSCI has announced three nominees for this year’s Arjuna, Dronacharya and Khel Ratna awards. however, one of them seems to be quite controversial.
For the Arjuna award, FMSCI has nominated 22-year old Jehan Daruvala for 2021. Daruvala finished third overall in the 2019 FIA Formula 3 Championship. Now a part of the Red Bull Junior Team, Daruvala competes in the FIA Formula 2 Championship for the Carlin racing team. In 2020, Daruvala finished seventh in the championship, with two podiums and one win to his name. He is currently seventh in the ongoing 2021 championship standings, already with two podium finishes this season. Daruvala also competed in the 2021 F1 Asian Championship where he finished third overall in the standings with three wins and eight podium finishes. Jehan’s name was inexplicably left out from the previous year’s nominations, however, this year the inclusion is rightfully deserving.
Musa Sherif, a veteran in the Indian rally scene has been nominated for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award this year by FMSCI. Sherif plays a vital role as a co-driver/navigator and is in this 30th consecutive year competing in his field. With a total of 296 rallies under his belt as co-driver/navigator, he has appeared alongside 50 different rally drivers over his career. He is Gaurav Gill’s staple co-driver for his national competitions, having teamed up with him 65 times. Sherif has also competed at the international level total of 67 times. He is an APRC 2 Asia Cup winner, UAE Championship FWD second runner up, and holds 21 championships (including class) wins to his name. The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna is awarded for spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports over a period of four years at the international level.
The governing body has also nominated its president, Akbar Ebrahim for the Dronacharya award. The award is to recognise outstanding coaches in sports and games. Formerly a racing driver himself, Ebrahim has mentored many budding Indian racing drivers, most of whom have flourished at national and international levels in motorsports. However, the move is controversial as some suggest he should not have been nominated this year as he is currently holding office, and the nominations are sent by the presidents of the governing bodies. In essence, Ebrahim has nominated himself for the award.
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