Mountaineer Bachendri Pal was conferred with India’s third highest civilian honour, the Padma Bhushan on Friday. Eight sportspersons were among the recipients of the Padma Shri in the 2019 honours list.
Pal became the first Indian woman to ascend Mount Everest in 1984. She was bestowed the Padma Shri the very same year.
Among those honoured with the Padma Shri award include ex-India cricketer Gautam Gambhir. The batsman from Delhi played a pivotal part in India’s 2011 World Cup triumph and the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007.
Sunil Chhetri, who scored two goals at the Asian Cup 2019 in the United Arab Emirates, was also rewarded for his services to Indian football, as were table tennis player A Sharath Kamal, chess star Harika Dronavalli, archer Bombayla Devi Laishram, wrestler Bajrang Punia, basketball player Prashanti Singh and kabaddi star Ajay Thakur.
Sharath Kamal, who reached an all-time high ranking of 30, won a record-breaking ninth Nationals singles titles in table tennis recently.
Harika, who has three World Chess Championships bronze medals to her name, became the second Indian woman to become a grandmaster, after Koneru Humpy.
Prashanti Singh, the ex-captain of the Indian woman’s basketball team, had her efforts recognised. Ajay Thakur, whose Indian men’s kabaddi team, failed to retain their Asian Games gold medal in Jakarta in 2018, was also given the honour.
Bajrang Punia had a superb 2018 as he won an Asian Games gold and became the first Indian wrestler to win two wrestling World Championships medal with a silver in Budapest. He had won a bronze in the same city in 2013.