The Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) has recommended the names of medal-winning Paralympians for National Sporting honors.
The PCI has approved the names of shooter Manish Narwal (gold medal), high jumper Sharad Kumar (bronze medal), gold medal winning shuttler Pramod Bhagat and javelin thrower Sundar Singh Gurjar (bronze medal) for Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award 2021. All four athletes have brought laurels to India in the recently concluded Tokyo Paralympics.
Javelin thrower Sumit Antil (gold medal) and shooter Avani Lekhara, who bagged two medals at the Tokyo Paralympics, have been recommended for the Arjuna Award.
India’s creditable performance at both the 2021 Olympics and Paralympics has resulted in the awards selection committee recommending a record nomination for the Khel Ratna and Arjuna Awards to the union government.
Last year, a record 74 athletes were bestowed with the national sports day awards honors, with five Khel Ratna and 27 Arjuna awardees.
PCI chief Deepa Malik feels national sporting honors will motivate athletes ahead of 2024 Paris Summer Games:
Deepa Malik, the President of the PCI, asserted that winning the sporting honor will motivate athletes to exhibit improved performance at the 2024 Paris Paralympics.
Deepa, while speaking to the media, said:
"Our players did so well in this paralympic and we are proud of them. These awards will motivate them to put more effort in the next Games and they deserve that too as they have made the nation proud."
PCI chief Deepa Malik further stated that two other athletes have been named for the Arjuna Award. Gold medal-winning javelin thrower Sumit Antil and shooter Avani Lekhara, who bagged two medals at the Tokyo Paralympics, have been recommended for the Arjuna Award.
"Sumit Antil and Avani Lekhara will go for Arjuna Award this time, both of them have made the nation proud with their medals," said PCI Chief Deepa.
The National Sports Awards function, which is held on August 29 every year, was postponed for a few weeks.The government wanted the selection panel to consider the performances of the para-athletes competing in the Tokyo Paralympics.
Last month, Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Thakur stated that the medal winners in the Tokyo Paralympics will be rewarded at this year's National Sports Awards.