On India’s 70th Republic Day, the Government of India announced that Gautam Gambhir, Sunil Chhetri, Bajrang Punia among the eight sports stars will be honoured with the prestigious Padma Shri Awards. While mountaineer Bachendri Pal was on Friday conferred with the Padma Bhushan, India’s highest civilian award.
Bachendri Pal, who became the first Indian woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1984, has been bestowed with the honour for ‘distinguished service of a high order.
Proud moment for #Uttarakhand.. Three stalwarts of Uttarakhand, Bacchendri Pal- Mountain, Preetam Bartwan-Culture, Anoop Shah – Environment/Crestivity, conglomerates the image of real Uttarakhand. #PadmaAwards #Uttarakhandis https://t.co/RXJPiKFWZ5
— Ankit Sharma (@anky_sha) January 26, 2019
Meanwhile, World Cup-winning cricketer Gambhir, India football captain Chhetri and World Championship silver medallist wrestler Bajrang, have been conferred with the Padma Shri, along with Dronavalli Harika (chess), Sharath Kamal (table tennis), Bombayla Devi Laishram (archery), Ajay Thakur (kabaddi) and Prashanti Singh (basketball).
Gambhir awarded for his contribution to Indian Cricket
It’s an honour I accept with gratitude. But it’s an honour which also comes with responsibility. I’m living for the day when Gautam Gambhir the human being beats Gautam Gambhir the cricketer. That will be my day, my award to myself. #PadmaAwards2019
— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) January 25, 2019
Gautam Gambhir played match-winning knocks in the finals of India’s World T20 win in 2007 and the 2011 World Cup title triumph. Having played 58 Tests, 147 ODIs and 37 T20Is for India since making his international debut in 2003, the left-handed batsman announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on December 2018 after scoring 10,324 International runs.
Sunil Chhetri: The highest active international goal scorer
A prestigious award bestowed upon a more thn deserving legend ?#SunilChhetri our hero, is the Padma Shri recipient 2019, the 4th highest civilian award in India! ?????❤️#IndianFootball #Chhetri #BlueTigers Congratulations on receiving the Padma Shri award, @chetrisunil11 ? pic.twitter.com/m03rzDIOdj
— welovesiliguri (@welovesiliguri) January 26, 2019
Chhetri, who guided India in the AFC Asian Cup 2019 this month, is all set to become the sixth Indian Footballer to be awarded the Padma Shri. He went past Argentina great Lionel Messi to become the second highest active international goal scorer with 67 goals behind Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal. Chhetri has won 3 Nehru Cups (2007, 2009, 2012), an AFC Challenge Cup (2012), and 2 SAFF Championships (2011, 2016) in his illustrious career.
“At the moment, it’s just pure happiness. It hasn’t sunk in as yet. I need some time to feel it. I need some time to understand what the recognition actually means,” said Chhetri.
Today, I find yet another reason to be grateful. I wouldn’t have been honoured with the Padma Shri Award if it hadn’t been for the teammates, coaches, staff, massuers, physios and management that I have had the pleasure of working with across all these years.
— Sunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) January 26, 2019
“Every person has flaws, so do I. I understand it and strive to be a better version of myself a better human being. I feel I need to set a better example to others.”
“On that perspective, I am loving that extra pressure which has come with this Padma Shri announcement.”
“Look at that list the late Gostho Paul, the late Sailen Manna, PK Banerjee, Chuni Goswami and Bhaichung-bhai. They are all legends. To be in that same list is an honour for me. It gives me goosebumps. It is also a reminder to me on what I need to do, all in my effort to improve every minute as a footballer.”
Besides, Bajrang Punia lashed out at the government last year for not including him for the Khel Ratna awards which were taken by cricket captain Virat Kohli and weightlifter Mirabai Chanu.
Bajrang is a World Championship silver and bronze medallist and had also won gold at Asian Games and Commonwealth Games in 2018 and will now be awarded Padma Shri.
Here’s the full list of recipients of the Padma awards in the sports:
Bachendri Pal – Mountaineering
Gautam Gambhir – Cricket
Sunil Chhetri – Football
Harika Dronavalli – Chess
Sharath Kamal – Table Tennis
Bambayla Devi – Archery
Prashanti Singh – Basketball
Ajay Thakur – Kabaddi
Bajrang Punia – Wrestling
The government conferred Padma awards to 112 people this year including four Padma Vibushan, 14 Padma Bhushan and 94 Padma Shri.
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