Star Indian rally driver Gaurav Gill expressed delight on being recommended for the Arjuna award, but hopes the recognition comes with fresh support from the government towards motorsport.
After being ignored for the award three years in a row, Gill, a three-time Asia Pacific Rally champion, finally got his due when the select committee recommended his name this year.
Popularity of motorsport in the country has remained debatable, and ever-since the Formula One wrapped up its India chapter in 2013, the sport has struggled to capture the imagination of fans here.
But for Gill to be named in the awardees list during a year that was preceded by Asian Games and Commonwealth Games gives a massive boost to the sport trying to find its feet again.
Exactly why the 37-year-old hopes the next step could be the government waiving tax and reducing import duties on their equipment to encourage more racers to follow his suit.
This award will change a lot of things in our sport. Now we can see there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, Gill told Mail Today.
For any sport to survive, it requires a collective effort of the federation and ministry. I wish the concerned ministries will give us a wavier on taxes and import duties as a much big relief. If you look at shooting and golf, both sports are similarly expensive like ours and their taxes are pretty much wavered. In a way that has helped grow their sport, should follow the same for us.
Wavier will give next level of boost, which is required from the govt. The government should know that we are not using the equipment commercially and the lesser expenses, the more youngsters will be encouraged to take up motorsport, he explained.
Speaking about the award, Gill added: It’s a special day for our sport. I want to thank everyone involved. This is a due recognition after winning multiple titles over the years. This is very big for our motorsport community.
For every athlete, the sport is bigger love than awards. It would have been great had this come earlier, but the ministry and committee has chosen me now. Better late than never.