To celebrate and acknowledge the contribution of country’s top female athletes in the world of sports – Sports Ministry has taken a huge stride forward by sending an all-women list to the home ministry for the prestigious Padma awards. Six-time world champion boxer MC Mary Kom has been recommended for the Padma Vibhushan award, country’s second-highest civilian honour after the Bharat Ratna. This is also the first time that a woman athlete’s name has been put forward for the coveted silverware.

Badminton queen and recently-crowned world champion – PV Sindhu, who became the first Indian to win the world championship in August, has been recommended for the Padma Bhushan. It is the third-highest civilian award in the country. Apart from Mary and Sindhu, the ministry has recommended seven other women athletes this time around for the national honour, reported by The Times of India.

The other seven women in this year’s list have all been recommended for the Padma Shri are – champion wrestler Vinesh Phogat, table tennis star Manika Batra, cricket captain Harmanpreet Kaur (T20Is), hockey captain Rani Rampal, former shooter Suma Shirur and mountaineer twin sisters, Tashi and Nungshi Malik.

Mary Kom has already been honoured with the Padma Bhushan in 2013 and Padma Shri in 2006 for her accomplishments in the world of Boxing. If she receives the Padma Vibhushan award, it would make her the fourth sportsperson to do so from the country.

Sindhu was overlooked for the Padma Bhushan honour in 2017 despite a strong recommendation by the sports ministry. She had earlier received the Padma Shri in 2015.

Earlier, chess wizard Viswanathan Anand (2007) was the first sportsperson from the country to have received the Padma Vibhushan award. Later, Sachin Tendulkar (2008) also bagged the honour for his extraordinary cricketing achievements. Renowned New Zealand mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary got the award posthumously in 2008.

The ministry of home affairs (MHA) will announce the names of the selected awardees on the eve of the Republic Day celebrations – January 25, 2020.