For the first time in the history of Indian Sports, a motorsport athlete has been nominated to receive the Arjuna Award. For what is the highest civilian honour for a sportsperson in the country, it is the FMSCI (Federation of Motorsports Clubs Of India) which has forwarded the name of ace rallyist Gaurav Gill. The 19-member list also includes some gritty names like Ravindra Jadeja and Indian football goalkeeper Gurpreet Sandhu.
For the uninitiated, Gaurav Gill has been a bright and shining example of glory at the Indian and International Motorsporting stage. He was crowned as the Asia Pacific Rally Champion for three years – 2013, 2016 and 2017 and has won the Indian National Rally Championship six times! As of now, Gaurav has been making his Fiesta R5 fly at the World Rally Championship 2, while at the same time, he is also defending the title at the INRC with Mahindra Adventure. The winners of the awards would be announced on the 25th of September, 2019. For those who don’t follow motorsport, Gaurav Gill is the driver who pilots the XUV300 in its “Set the roads on fire” commercial.
Indian Motorsport has been full of such brilliant individuals who have earned their place after putting in a lot of hard work on their own since racing isn’t a popular sport in India. Recently, 23-year old Aishwarya Pissay became the first Indian racer to win a World title in Motorsport after she annexed the FIM Bajas World Cup in the Women’s category post the final round of the championship.
India isn’t short of talent either and to support them, several manufacturers like TVS, Honda Two-wheelers and Volkswagen have been pumping in resources to groom them into becoming top-quality racers. Besides car and bike makers, even tyre manufacturers like JK Tyre and MRF have been there for the longest of time to support Indian Motorsport. With three racing circuits and quite a number of off-road events now taking place in the country, the likes of Ducati have also entered the arena and the first-ever Ducati One Make Championship will be held at the Buddh Circuit later this year.