- Smriti Mandhana and Rohan Bopanna were conferred with Arjuna Award.
- The duo was unable to attend the award ceremony due to sports commitments.
- While Smriti was ICC's Women Cricketer of the Year 2018, Rohan Bopanna had won gold at the 2018 Asian Games.
India’s No.1 ODI batswoman and opener Smriti Mandhana and Tennis player Rohan Bopanna were handed the Arjuna Award in-person by the incumbent sports minister Kiren Rijiju. The duo had missed the award ceremony held in September last year at the Rashtrapati Bhavan due to national commitments.
The duo had a stellar season last year. Smriti Mandhana scaled new heights by becoming the the ICC women’s player of the year 2018. She had scored 669 runs in 12 ODIs in 2018 apart from hitting 622 runs in 25 T20Is.
I'm delighted to confer the prestigious Arjuna Awards to @mandhana_smriti , one of the finest Women Cricketer in the world and @rohanbopanna , Tennis star & India's proud Asian Games Gold medalist. They couldn't receive the Awards earlier as they were out of the country. pic.twitter.com/XbdzMzoIL8
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) July 16, 2019
“It was declared 8-10 months back and I was really excited and happy that something that I have worked hard for is been recognised through Arjuna Award. To get it today is a great feeling and hopefully I will continue performing well and winning matches for India,” Smriti Mandhana informed to ANI.
Rohan Bopanna, on the other hand, had clinched a Gold medal in the Men’s doubles tennis event of the 2018 Asian Games.
“It is very proud and great feeling for me. Especially when you are recognized by country Arjuna Awards winner. I’m very happy to receive this (award). Sports minister conferred me the award and he is very concerned about the sports in India,” Bopanna told ANI.
Focus on T20 Cricket: Mandhana
Smriti Mandhana is currently busy preparing for the T20 World Cup that will take place next year in Australia.
“It was a good fitness camp. Finally after a year or two, we got a month off. It was good for us to come back and do a fitness camp. It was much needed because we are going to have a hectic eight months, so we have to get our body prepared for the grind,” Mandhana told on Tuesday.
“I and coach Raman sir have been discussing quite a bit about my game. How I can become more consistent in T20 cricket, how I can add more power to my game. I still feel I need to improve on that front,” she said on her own batting.
“You have to improve because other teams are also keeping an eye on you. Adding new shots is not something which I am looking for, I am looking to consistently hit the same length of balls in different places,” said Mandhana. The 24-year-old will next be seen in action at the Kia Super League scheduled to be held in the UK next month.
India, who have yet to play an international game since March, will play host to South Africa in September.
The T20 Women’s World Cup will be held in Australia between 21st February to 8th March.