President Ram Nath Kovind presented the National Sports Day Awards on the 114th birth anniversary of Major Dhyan Chand to sportspersons from the country at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Thursday.
The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the highest sporting honour in the country, was awarded to Deepa Malik, thereby making her the first Paralympian to receive the prestigious honour.
Wrestler Bajrang Punia though skipped the award ceremony in New Delhi to continue training for September’s World Championships in Russia. The Asian Games gold medallist will reportedly receive the award from Sports Minister Kiran Rijiju after returning to the country.
India’s national football team goalkeeper, Gurpreet Singh, kabaddi star Ajay Thakur, hockey player Chinglensana Singh Kangujam, cricketer Poonam Yadav were among the prominent names to receive the Arjuna Award at the award ceremony in Rashtrapati Bhavan.
India cricket star Ravindra Jadeja, middle distance runner Mohammed Anas Yahiya were among the notable absentees at the award ceremony. Jadeja, who along with Poonam Yadav are the only cricketers to receive the Arjuna Award in this year, is currently in West Indies along with Virat Kohli-led senior national team and Mohammed Anas is in Lucknow for the Inter-State Athletics Championships.
BWF World Championships bronze medallist Sai Praneeth and Fouaad Mirza, who won the Individual and Team Eventing Equestrian medals at Asian Games 2018, also received the award from President Kovind.
A total of 19 athletes were nominated for the Arjuna Award.
Noted badminton coach Vimal Kumar, who had coached the likes of Pullela Gopichand and Saina Nehwal, received the Dronacharya Award from President Kovind on Thursday.
Dhyan Chand Award for lifetime achievement in sports was received by Manoj Kumar (wrestling), C Lalremsanga (archery), Arup Basak (table tennis), Nitten Kirrtane (tennis) and Manuel Fredricks (hockey) at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Full list of National Sports Day Award winners 2019
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award: Deepa Malik (Para-Athletics), Bajrang Punia (Wrestling)
Arjuna Award: Ravindra Jadeja (Cricket), Mohammed Anas (Athletics), Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Football), Sonia Lather (Boxing), Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (Hockey), S Bhaskaran (Bodybuilding), Ajay Thakur (Kabaddi), Anjum Moudgil (Shooting), Bhamidipati Sai Praneeth (Badminton), Tajinder Pal Singh Toor (Athletics), Pramod Bhagat (Para sports-badminton), Harmeet Rajul Desai (Table tennis), Pooja Dhanda (Wrestling), Fouaad Mirza (Equestrian), Simran Singh Shergill (Polo), Poonam Yadav (Cricket), Swapna Burman (Athletics), Sundar Singh Gurjar (Para sports-athletics) and Gaurav Singh Gill (Motorsports).
Dronacharya Award: Mohinder Singh Dhillon (athletics), Sandeep Gupta (table tennis) and Vimal Kumar (badminton).
Dronacharya Award (lifetime category): Sanjay Bhardwaj (cricket), Rambir Singh Khokar (kabaddi) and Mezban Patel (hockey).
Dhyan Chand Award: Manoj Kumar (wrestling), C Lalremsanga (archery), Arup Basak (table tennis), Nitten Kirrtane (tennis) and Manuel Fredricks (hockey).