Like every year, a full list of the recipients of the prestigious Padma Awards conferred by the Government of India is out. Achievers across all spheres including sports, art, social works, civil service, medicine and more are honoured as a recognition of their deed as well as encouragement for the coming days. A number of Indian sportspersons including cricketer Gautam Gambhir, footballer Sunil Chhetri and chess grandmaster Harika Dronavalli have received the honour. 56 out of 112 recipients were conferred their awards while another ceremony for the rest is to be held soon. Read on to see who all from the Indian sports fraternity are this year's recipients.
The Delhi-born former Indian cricketer and captain who played all forms of cricket and had an instrumental part to play behind India's win in the inaugural ICC T20 World Cup was announced as a recipient of the Padma Shri Awards. 37-year-old Gautam Gambhir played his first ODI in 2003 and his first test in 2004. In his career spanning over a decade, he has scored 4,154 and 5,238 runs respectively ODI and test formats. In 2008, he was also honoured with the Arjuna Award, India's second highest sporting honour.
Sunil Chhetri happens to be the sixth Indian footballer to have received the Padma Shri Award. Chhetri was the key man behind leading India to FIFA top 100 ranking. India, under his captaincy, won the Intercontinental Cup in 2018. He also led the team to qualify for the AFC Asian Cup.
The Indian chess grandmaster got inclined to the sport at an age when rest of us were only having fun. Harika won a medal in the under-9 championship which was followed by a silver medal at the World Youth Chess Championship in the U-10 girl's category in 2000. There was no looking back then. She is a three-time Bronze medal winner in 2012, 2015 and 2017 World Championships. In 2008, the Government of India honoured her with the Arjuna award.
2018 belonged to Bajrang Punia. The freestyle wrestler won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in the men's freestyle 65 kgs category. In the same category, he brought home one more gold from Asian Games and a silver medal from World Wrestling Championships. He is presently the world's no. 1 wrestler in 65 kg category.
This 64-year-old woman was the first female Indian mountaineer to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Pal, coming from a very humble background, was born in the Himalayas and the love for mountains only escalated with time. Apart from leading a number of successful summits including the Indo-Nepalese Women’s Mount Everest Expedition in 1993, she has also taken an active part in various relief and rescue operations in the high altitude villages of Himalayas during the 2013 calamity in Uttarakhand.
Apart from them, the other Indian sportsmen to be receiving the Padma Awards this year are Sharath Kamal (Table Tennis),
(Archery), Prashanti Singh (Basketball) and Ajay Thakur (Kabaddi). Our heartiest congratulations to all! May you keep doing us proud.