Boxing champion Mary Kom and Olympian badminton player PV Sindhu were awarded Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan, respectively on Saturday. They are two out of the nine women athletes recommended for Padma awards by the Sports Ministry, earlier in September 2019.
Six time world champion and the only boxer to win eight medals at world championships globally, Mary Kom added the prestigious Padma Vibhushan, country’s second highest civilian award to her name, having been honoured with Padma Shri in 2006 and Padma Bhushan in 2013.
Mary Kom is the fourth sportsperson in the country to be given the Padma Vibhushan after chess wizard Viswanathan Anand, mountaineer Edmund Hillary and cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar who all got the coveted award in 2008.
Mary Kom’s illustrious career includes five gold medals from Asian Championships and a bronze from 2012 Olympics. Besides rocking boxing courts, the 36-years-old is also a Member of Parliament in Rajya Sabha since April 2016, and was also appointed as the National Observer for boxing in 2017.
The recipients of all the Padma award on India’s 71st Republic Day were revealed one day ahead on Saturday. Among the 16 people named for Padma Bhushan, country’s third-highest civilian award, also include 24-year-old shuttler PV Sindhu.
Thank you very much sir for all your support 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻 https://t.co/ciBCQwsqgi— Pvsindhu (@Pvsindhu1) January 25, 2020
She has bagged four world championship medals including two silver and two gold and became the first Indian to win a medal at the World Championships for two consecutive years in 2014. Sindhu’s firsts also include reaching the final of the badminton singles competition in the Asian Games in 2018.
Winning Padma Shri in 2015, she was recommended for Padma Bhushan award in 2017 but did not make it to the final list of awardees then.
Rani Rampal, captain of the Indian Women’s Hockey team was also among the 118 Padma Shri Awardees. She has played more than 200 matches for India.
Rani thanked Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and dedicated the award to her team members.
I am humbled and honoured to receive one of the highest civilian awards of our country #Padmashree I dedicate this award to my entire team & supporting staff. Elated & thankful to @KirenRijiju sir @TheHockeyIndia coach Baldev Sir, family, friends & fans for always supporting me.— Rani Rampal (@imranirampal) January 26, 2020
Former Indian women's football team captain Bembem Oinam, cricketer Zaheer Khan, former hokey player M P Ganesh, shooter Jeetu Rai and archer Tarundeep Rai were among the other players who are conferred with Padma Shri.
The other six women who were recommended by the Sports Ministry for Padma Shri this year were wrestler Vinesh Phogat, table tennis player Manika Batra, cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur, former shooter Suma Shirur, and twin mountaineers Tashi and Nungshi Malik.