Gautam Gambhir, Sunil Chhetri receive Padma awards from President Ram Nath Kovind

Cricket Politics

Former cricketer Gautam Gambir, football captain Sunil Chhetri Archery star Bombayla Devi and basketball player Prashanti Singh were among those who received Padma awards from President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday.

Gautam Gambhir and Sunil Chhetri were among seven sportspersons who were conferred the Padma awards this year. (PTI Photo)

Former cricketer Gautam Gambhir and Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri received their Padma awards from President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday. The two were among eight sportspersons conferred with the honour this year. Archery star Bombayla Devi and basketball player Prashanti Singh were also among those who received the award on Saturday. Other sports stars who were conferred the Padma Shri this year were wrestler Bajrang Punia, chess Harika Dronavalli, kabaddi captain Ajay Thakur and table tennis player Achantha Sharath Kamal.

“This is for all the supporters of Indian cricket and my critics. Both have played a part in my journey…some day will discuss who played more than the other,” said Gambhir in his Twitter post.

The 37-year old 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.

Meanwhile, Chhetri, who guided India in the AFC Asian Cup 2019 this month, became the sixth Indian Footballer to be awarded with the Padma Shri. He went past Argentina great Lionel Messi to become the second highest active international goal scorer with 67 goals, one place 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.

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’ was the only sportsperson on the list to be conferred a Padma Bhushan award while the rest were given Padma Shri.

Here is the full list of sports athletes conferred with the Padma Awards this year:

Bachendri Pal (Mountaineering) – Uttarakhand [Padma Bhushan]

Bombayla Devi Laishram (Archery) – Manipur

Prashanti Singh (Basketball) – Uttar Pradesh

Gautam Gambhir (Cricket) – Delhi

Sunil Chhetri(Football) – Telangana

Ajay Thakur (Kabaddi) – Himachal Pradesh

Sharath Kamal (Table Tennis) – Tamil Nadu

Bajrang Punia (Wrestling) – Haryana

Harika Dronavalli (Chess) – Andhra Pradesh

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