President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday conferred the country’s highest sporting honour Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award to Rio medallists PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik along with gymnast Dipa Karmakar and ace shooter Jitu Rai.
The prestigious award is given for the spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports by a sportsperson over a period of four years. This is for the first time that the award has been conferred on four athletes.
The specially organised ceremony was held at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on the occasion of National Sports Day, celebrated in dedication to the great hockey player Dhyan Chand.
While ace shuttler Sindhu and wrestler Sakshi bagged silver and bronze medals respectively at the just-concluded Rio Olympics, gymnast Dipa missed out on an Olympic medal by a whisker.
Ace marksman Jitu, ranked third in the world in the men’s 10m air pistol, was one of two Indian shooters to make the final of their respective events in Rio.
The government also bestowed the Dronacharya Award, the honour for excellence in sports coaching, to Nagapuri Ramesh (Athletics), Sagar Mal Dhayal (Boxing), Raj Kumar Sharma (Cricket), Bishweshwar Nandi (Gymnastics), S Pradeep Kumar (Swimming, Lifetime) and Mahabir Singh (Wrestling, Lifetime).
In addition, 15 sportspersons across various disciplines were honoured with the Arjuna Award for their consistent performance in the last four years. This list is as follows:
Rajat Chauhan (Archery), Lalita Babar (Athletics), Sourav Kothari (Billiards & Snooker), Shiva Thapa (Boxing), Ajinkya Rahane (Cricket), Subrata Paul (Football), Rani (Hockey), Raghunath V.R. (Hockey), Gurpreet Singh (Shooting), Apurvi Chandela (Shooting), Soumyajit Ghosh (Table Tennis), Vinesh (Wrestling), Amit Kumar (Wrestling), Sandeep Singh Mann (Para-Athletics), Virender Singh (Wrestling, Deaf).
Satti Geetha (Athletics), Sylvanus Dung Dung (Hockey), Rajendra Pralhad Shelke (Rowing) were given the Dhyan Chand Award for their life time contribution to sports development.
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