On Monday, President Ram Nath Kovind conferred one of the highest civilian honours in India to several sportspersons acknowledging their hard work and discipline in the field of sports. The honourable President presented the prestigious Padma Awards at the Rashtrapati Bhavan to champion wrestler Bajrang Punia, Football superstar Sunil Chhetri, veteran table-tennis players Sharath Kamal, Kabaddi captain Ajay Thakur, chess grandmaster Harika Dronavalli and many others.
On the eve of country’s 70th Republic Day (January 26), the government of India announced the names of Padma Awardees which included nine sportspersons. In total, 112 distinguished personalities across various fields were conferred with the coveted Padma Awards.
India football captain Chhetri, former Indian cricketer and World Cup-winner Gautam Gambhir, ace wrestler Punia, chess player Harika, table tennis player Kamal, archer Bombayla Devi Laishram, basketball player Prashanti Singh and kabaddi star Ajay were among the sportspersons who were conferred with Padma Shri – fourth highest civilian honour.
Wrestler Punia had a great year in 2018 as he clinched the gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games last year. He also bagged a silver medal at World Championships and a bronze medal at the Asian Championships last year. Recently, the star wrestler bagged a gold medal at the Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov in Bulgaria and dedicated his yellow metal to Indian Air Force (IAF) Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
Here are some of the pictures from the famed event at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday:
Sharath Kamal, who has been leading India’s charge in men’s table tennis for years had a highly rewarding 2018 too. He won as many as four medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, including a historic gold in the men’s team event. Indian kabaddi team captain Ajay is also a recipient of the Padma Shri Award. Veteran mountaineer Bachendri has been honoured with the Padma Bhushan.
One of the highest civilian awards of the country, ‘Padma Awards’ are conferred in three categories: the Padma Vibhushan, the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Shri. The remaining awardees are likely to be conferred the honour at another function to be held on March 16, a Home Ministry official said.
Here is the full list of recipients from sports:
Bachendri Pal – Mountaineering
Sunil Chhetri – Football
Harika Dronavalli – Chess
Gautam Gambhir – Cricket
Sharath Kamal – Table Tennis
Bombayla Devi Laishram – Archery
Bajrang Punia – Wrestling
Prashanti Singh- Basketball
Ajay Thakur – Kabaddi