Indian cricketer Mohammed Shami receives Arjuna Award

 New Delhi, Jan 09(KNS): : Indian cricketer Mohammed Shami was on Tuesday conferred with the Arjuna Award by President Droupadi Murmu in a regal ceremony. In the ceremony, other best-performing athletes were also conferred with the national sports awards by the President.

Shuttlers Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy were presented the coveted Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award for a breakout 2023, during which they won their maiden Asian Games gold — a first for India in badminton –, while also clinching the Asian Championships title and the Indonesia Open Super 1000 title.

The awards ceremony, usually held on August 29 to commemorate the birth anniversary of hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand, was deferred because of the Hangzhou Asian Games from September 23 till October 8 last year.

An atmosphere of gaiety pervaded the Rashtrapati Bhawan as 26 athletes and para-athletes were conferred the Arjuna Awards.

Also receiving a huge round of applause was the newly-crowned chess Grandmaster R. Vaishali, the elder sister of precocious chess talent R. Praggnanandhaa.

Vaishali was honoured for becoming the third woman from the country after Koneru Humpy and Dronavalli Harika to turn GM.

Pistol shooting sensation, 19-year-old Esha Singh, was among the notable absentees as she is competing in the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Jakarta.

Apart from Mohammed Shami, other sporting bigwigs who were chosen for the Arjuna award this year were wrestler Antim Panghal, a former junior world champion and bronze-winner at the senior event last year, boxer Mohammad Hussamuddin (bronze-winner at last year’s world championship), and para archer Sheetal Devi.

Among the notable Dronacharya awardees this year is chess coach RB Ramesh, who has groomed Praggnanandhaa.

While the Khel Ratna comes with a cash prize of Rs 25 lakh, the Arjuna and Dronacharya awards include a cash prize of Rs 15 lakh.(KNS).

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