President Ram Nath Kovind bestowed India’s sportspersons with National Sports Day Awards on the occasion of the 114th birth anniversary of Major Dhyan Chand at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi on Thursday.
The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, which is India’s highest sporting honour, was presented to Deepa Malik. This made her the first-ever Paralympian to achieve the prestigious award.
Ace Wrestler Bajrang Punia also won the Arjuna award although he was absent from the ceremony to continue training in Russia for the upcoming World Championships. According to reports, the Asian Games gold medallist will receive the award at the hands of Sports Minister Kiran Rijiju once he returns back to the country.
President Kovind confers the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, 2019 upon @DeepaAthlete in recognition of her outstanding achievements in Para-Athletics.
⏺️Bronze Medal (Javelin Throw) in Asian Para Games 2018
⏺️Silver Medal (Shot Put) in Paralympic Games 2016 pic.twitter.com/P32usp4L6I
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) August 29, 2019
Amongst the major sports persons to receive the Arjuna award include Gurpreet Singh, national football team goalkeeper, kabaddi player Ajay Thakur, cricketer Poonam Yadav, and Chinglensana Singh Kangujam.
Among those absent included India cricketer Ravindra Jadeja who is currently in West Indies, and middle-distance runner Mohammad Anas Yahiya, away in Lucknow for the sake of Inter-State Athletics Championships.
President Kovind also handed awards to BWF World Championships bronze winner Sai Praneeth and Asiad Eventing Equestrian medalist Fouaad Mirza.
As many as 19 athletes were nominated for the Arjuna Award.
Veteran badminton coach Vimal Kumar was presented the Dronacharya Award by President Kovind on Thursday. Pullela Gopichand and Saina Nehwal are some of Kumar’s illustrious students.
Manoj Kumar (wrestling), Arup Basak (table tennis), C Lalremsanga (archery), Manuel Fredricks (hockey) and Nitten Kirrtane (tennis) all received the Dhyan Chand Award for lifetime achievement in sports at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Complete list of 2019 National Sports Day Award winners
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award: Deepa Malik (Para-Athletics), Bajrang Punia (Wrestling)
Arjuna Award: Ravindra Jadeja (Cricket), Mohammed Anas (Athletics), Sonia Lather (Boxing), Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Football), Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (Hockey), Ajay Thakur (Kabaddi), S Bhaskaran (Bodybuilding), Anjum Moudgil (Shooting), Harmeet Rajul Desai (Table tennis), Bhamidipati Sai Praneeth (Badminton), Tajinder Pal Singh Toor (Athletics), Pramod Bhagat (Para sports-badminton), Pooja Dhanda (Wrestling), Fouaad Mirza (Equestrian), Sundar Singh Gurjar (Para sports-athletics), Simran Singh Shergill (Polo), Poonam Yadav (Cricket), Swapna Burman (Athletics), and Gaurav Singh Gill (Motorsports).
Dronacharya Award: Sandeep Gupta (table tennis), Mohinder Singh Dhillon (athletics), and Vimal Kumar (badminton).
Dronacharya Award (lifetime category): Sanjay Bhardwaj (cricket), Mezban Patel (hockey), and Rambir Singh Khokar (kabaddi).
Dhyan Chand Award: Manoj Kumar (wrestling), C Lalremsanga (archery), Manoj Kumar (wrestling), Nitten Kirrtane (tennis), Arup Basak (table tennis), and Manuel Fredricks (hockey).