National Sports Awards: Khel Ratna to Satwik-Chirag; Mohd Shami, para-archer Sheetal Devi receive Arjuna awards

January 9, 2024
President Droupadi Murmu presented the prestigious National Sports Awards 2023 to India's outstanding athletes in a ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhawan

New Delhi, Jan 9 (IANS) President Droupadi Murmu presented the prestigious National Sports Awards 2023 to India’s outstanding athletes in a ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on Tuesday.

Star shuttlers Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy were honoured with the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award for their outstanding performance in 2023. However, the duo was forced to skip the ceremony as they are currently competing in the Malaysia Open Super 1000 badminton tournament.

Satwik and Chirag had a breakout 2023 season as they secured India’s first badminton gold at the Asian Games while also winning the Asian Championships and the Indonesia Open Super 1000 title.

The awards ceremony, which is typically scheduled for August 29 to honour the birth anniversary of hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand, was postponed to this year due to the Asian Games held in Hangzhou last year.

A total of 26 athletes and para-athletes were conferred the Arjuna Awards for their outstanding performance in sports and games in 2023.

Senior fast-bowler Mohammed Shami, who played a pivotal role in India’s ODI World Cup campaign, claiming 24 wickets in seven games and is currently recovering from an ankle injury, was there to receive the honour.

Newly crowned chess Grandmaster R. Vaishali was honoured in recognition of her outstanding achievements in chess.

Squash player Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu became only the 11th squash player to be conferred the Arjuna Award. The 34-year-old Sandhu won two gold medals at the 2023 Asian Games in Hangzhou –- in the men’s team event and the mixed doubles along with Dipika Pallikal. The pair also won gold at the inaugural Asian Mixed Doubles Championships.

Young wrestler Antim Panghal was honoured for her achievements. She won the gold medal (53 kg Women’s Wrestling) in the Junior World Championship held in Amman, Jordan in 2023. She also bagged a bronze medal (53 kg Women Wrestling) in the Senior World Wrestling Championship, 19th Asian Games held in Hangzhou, China in 2023 and a silver medal in the Senior Asian Championship.

Other notable athletes who were chosen for the Arjuna Award include the first international para-archer without upper limbs Sheetal Devi, who won two gold medals (Women’s Individual Compound Team and Mixed Team) and one silver medal (Women’s Doubles Compound) in the Hangzhou Asian Games, Kabaddi player Pawan Sehrawat, who led the Indian team to a gold medal at the Asian Games, boxer Mohammad Hussamuddin, shooter Esha Singh.

‘Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award’ is given for the spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports by a sportsperson over the previous four years.

‘The Arjuna Award for Outstanding Performance in Sports and Games’ is given for good performance over a period of the previous four years and for showing qualities of leadership, sportsmanship and a sense of discipline.

‘The Dronacharya Award for Outstanding Coaches in Sports and Games’ is given to coaches for doing outstanding and meritorious work on a consistent basis and for enabling sportspersons to excel in international events.

‘The Dhyan Chand Award for Lifetime Achievement in Sports and Games’ is given to honour sportspersons who have contributed to sports by their performance and who continue to contribute to the promotion of sports events after their retirement.

The 2023 awardees:

Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award for 2023: Chirag Shetty and Satwik Sairaj Rankireddy (badminton).

Arjuna Awards: Ojas Pravin Deotale (archery), Aditi Gopichand Swami (archery), Murali Sreeshankar (athletics), Parul Chaudhary (athletics), Mohammad Hussamuddin (boxing), R Vaishali (chess), Mohammed Shami (cricket), Anush Agarwalla (equestrian), Divyakriti Singh (equestrian dressage), Diksha Dagar (golf), Krishan Bahadur Pathak (hockey), Sushila Chanu (hockey), Pawan Kumar (kabaddi), Ritu Negi (kabaddi), Nasreen (kho-kho), Pinki (lawn bowls), Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar (shooting), Esha Singh (shooting), Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu (squash), Ayhika Mukherjee (table tennis), Sunil Kumar (wrestling), Antim Panghal (wrestling), Naorem Roshibina Devi (wushu), Sheetal Devi (para archery), Illuri Ajay Kumar Reddy (blind cricket), Prachi Yadav (para canoeing).

Dronacharya Award (regular category) for outstanding coaches: Lalit Kumar (wrestling), RB Ramesh (chess), Mahaveer Prasad Saini (para athletics), Shivendra Singh (hockey), Ganesh Prabhakar Devrukhkar (mallakhamb).Dronacharya Award (lifetime category) for outstanding coaches: Jaskirat Singh Grewal (golf), Bhaskaran E (kabaddi), Jayanta Kumar Pushilal (table tennis).

Dhyan Chand Award for lifetime achievement: Manjusha Kanwar (badminton), Vineet Kumar Sharma (hockey), Kavitha Selvaraj (kabaddi).

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy 2023: Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar (overall winner university); Lovely Professional University, Punjab (1st runner-up), Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra (2nd runner-up).


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