The prestigious Khel Ratna award was conferred to table tennis star, Sharath Kamal at the age of 40 years. On Saturday, Kamal said the recognition was “better late than never” and will inspire him to give one last shot at Olympic glory.
The 40-year-old received the award “Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna”, the country’s highest sporting honor, in recognition of his brilliant outing at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, where he won four medals for India.
Sharath told PTI,
“Proud moment. At this age getting this award, and inspiring so many millions across different sports is wonderful. It’s come pretty late in my career but better late than never,”
“For the amount of sacrifice and the work I have put in, especially post-2015 the second stage of my career — the Sharath Kamal 2.0 post the hamstring injury, the rise has been consistent and growing exponentially. I am really happy and I would like to thank my coaches and my support staff.” “I am looking forward to the Paris Olympics and this will encourage me. Of course, the CWG and Tokyo have given me the right direction to get into Paris, and hopefully, a medal there will be the best thing that can happen to any sportsperson’s life,”
This year, Sharath was among the 42 Khel Ratna aspirants, including hockey players: Harmanpreet Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Savita Punia, and Vandana Katariya.
The awards committee also suggested 25 athletes for this year’s Arjuna awards.
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