Mumbai:- Para-athlete Devendra Jhajharia was awarded the Padma Bhushan while Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra, para-badminton gold medallist Pramod Bhagat, javelin thrower Sumit Antil, and para-shooter Avani Lekhara were honoured with Padma Shri.
Women’s hockey player Vandana Kataria, former India football captain Brahmanand Sankhwalkar, Faisal Ali Dar, a martial arts coach from Bandipora in Jammu and Kashmir and another martial arts exponent, the 93-year-old Sankaranarayana Menon Chundayil an expert in Kerala’s traditional kalarippayattu, received the Padma Shri awards.
They are among the 107 persons that have been named for this year’s Padma Shri award announced on Tuesday.
Jhajharia is India’s most successful individual athlete in Olympics or Paralympics having bagged three medals — two gold medals and a silver. He was named among 17 recipients for the Padma Bhushan award. In this year’s list, Jhajharia got the highest award while eight persons associated with sports got the Padma Shri awards.
Last year, Neeraj Chopra became the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal in the Olympics when he bagged gold in the men’s javelin throw at Tokyo, He is only the second Indian to win an individual gold medal in the Olympics.
With India reaping a bumper harvest at the Tokyo Paralympic Games in 2021, para-sportspersons got the maximum awards among sportspersons with Pramod Bhagat, gold in SL3 category in para-badminton, Sumit Antil, who rewrote the World Record five times on his way to gold in javelin throw F64, and para-shooter Avani Lekhara, who won a gold in women’s 10m air rifle standing and bronze women’s 50m air rifle standing, at Tokyo.
Brahmanand Sankhwalkar, who was captain of the Indian men’s football team from 1983 to 1986, is considered one of the best goalkeepers that this country has ever produced.
No sportsperson got the Padma Vibhushan, the highest among the national awards, while no cricketer could make it to this year’s list.