Gambhir, Chhetri receive Padma Shri

New Delhi, Mar 16 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 3/16/2019 12:21:20 PM IST

Former India captain Gautam Gambhir and the skipper of Indian football team, Sunil Chhetri received their Padma Shri Awards from President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Saturday.

Gautam Gambhir and Sunil Chhetri were among the eight sportspersons conferred with the Padma Shri Award in 2019. Archery star Bombayla Devi and basketball player Prashanti Singh also received the honour from President Kovind on Saturday.

Gambhir took to social media on Saturday to thank both his critics and supporters after receiving the honour. “This is for all the supporters of Indian cricket and my critics. Both have played a part in my journey...some day will discuss who played more than the other,” Gambhir wrote on Twitter.

Notably, wrestler Bajrang Punia, table tennis player Achanta Sharath Kamal, Kabaddi star Ajay Thakur and chess player Harika Dronavalli received their Padma awards on Monday in a separate ceremony. Eight sportspersons were conferred with the Padma Shri award in 2019 and mountaineering great Bachendri Pal received the Padma Bhushan award.

The awards are given in art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports and civil service among others. Padma Vibhushan is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service, Padma Bhushan for distinguished service of high order and Padma Shri for distinguished service in any field.

Watched on by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh among others, Gautam Gambhir walked up to the stage and received his award. 

Gambhir retired from all forms of cricket in December 2018. The former India opener had represented the country in 58 Tests, 147 ODIs and 37 Tests. Gambhir played a crucial role in India’s World T20 win in 2007 and World Cup in 2011 as he finished as the team’s highest scorer in both the finals.

On the other hand, Chhetri has grown into one of the most celebrated footballers in the country. The Bengaluru FC captain is among the highest active scorers in international football. He had gone past Argentina great Lionel Messi’s tally when he scored a brace in India’s AFC Asian Cup win over Thailand in January.

Asian Games 2018 gold medallist Bajrang Punia, who has been in fine form on the mat, took to social media on Monday to thanks his coaches and said he is elated and honoured after having received the award.

“I am feeling elated and honoured having received this award from our honourable President. I want to share this award with my parents, all my coaches, friends and well-wishers. All this has been possible only because of their support, teachings and love,” Bajrang had said on Twitter.

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