Achanta Sharath Kamal
Achanta Sharath KamalIANS (File photo)

Sharath Kamal gets Khel Ratna Award; Sable, Nikhat, Eldouse Paul, Pragg among 25 named for Arjuna Awards

New Delhi, November 14, 2022

Indian table tennis legend Achanta Sharath Kamal, who claimed three gold medals in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this year, was chosen for the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award 2022, the country's highest sporting honour.

The government also named 25 sportspersons including World champion woman boxer Nikhat Zareen, steeplechaser Avinash Sable, CWG gold medallist triple jumper Eldhose Paul and young chess wizard R. Praggnanandhaa for the prestigious Arjuna Award.

The Khel Ratna was the only award missing from the laurels achieved by Sharath, the most successful male table tennis player the country has ever produced, who has played in three Olympic Games, five Commonwealth Games and four Asian Games besides bagging the national title a record 10 times.

This year, he showed that there was still a lot of fight in the old dog as he emerged as the most successful member of the Indian contingent at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, winning gold medals in men's singles, mixed doubles and the Team event. He and teammate G Sathiyan claimed the silver medal in men's doubles.

Sharath has been awarded the Arjuna Award in 2004 and in 2019 was bestowed with the Padma Shri, India's fourth-highest civilian award.

Sharath was the lone sportsperson nominated for the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award 2022, the country's highest sports award, in the list of National Sports Awards announced by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports on Monday.

The awards were announced based on the recommendations of the Committee and after due scrutiny. The awardees will receive their awards from the President of India at a specially organised function at Rashtrapati Bhavan on November 30, an official press release said.

Among those nominated for the Arjuna Award for this year are veteran discus thrower Seema Punia, top badminton players Lakshya Sen and H S Prannoy, who played a key role in the Indian team's maiden triumph in the Thomas Cup, boxer Amit Phangal, woman hockey player Deep Grace Ekka, shooters Elavenil Valarivan and Omprakash Mitharval and young table tennis star Sreeja Akula, who partnered Sharath Kamal to mixed doubles title at Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Woman chess player Bhakti Kulkarni, judo star Shushila Devi, woman kabaddi player Sakshi Kumari, Mallakhamb star Sagar Kailas Ovhalkar, wushu player Parveen and deaf badminton player Jerlin Anika J. were the others who will get the Arjuna Award for 2022.

The list includes three para-badminton stars -- World Champion Manasi Joshi, Tarun Dhillon and Swapnil Sanjay Patil. Top wrestlers Anshu and Sarita too were awarded the Arjuna as was Nayan Moi Saikia, who helped India bag their maiden gold medal in lawn balls at Birmingham.

Incidentally, no cricketer was nominated for Arjuna Award this year while the renowned coach from the Mumbai maidans, Dinesh Jawahar Lad, who has coached the likes of India skipper Rohit Sharma, Shardul Thakur and Yashavi Jaiswal, was the lone awardee from the sport -- nominated for the Dronacharya Award in the Lifetime Category.

The Dronacharya Award for outstanding coaches will be given to Jiwanjot Singh Teja (archery), Mohammad Ali Qamar (boxing), Suma Shirur (shooting) and Sujeet Maan (wrestling).

Four sportspersons -- athlete Ashwini Akkunji, hockey player Dharamvir Singh, kabaddi player BC Suresh and para-athlete Nir Bahadur Gurung -- have been nominated for the Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Besides Lad, veteran football coach Bimal Ghosh and Raj Singh (wrestling) will be given the Dronacharya Award for the Lifetime Category.

TransStadia Enterprises Private Limited will be given the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar for identification and nurturing of budding and young talent; Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology for encouraging sports through Corporate Social Responsibility and Ladakh Ski & Snowboard Association for sports for development, the release added.

IANS

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