In a grand ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhawan on Tuesday, President Droupadi Murmu conferred the prestigious National Sports Awards upon India’s top-performing athletes. The awards, which are usually presented on August 29 to commemorate the birth anniversary of hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand, were deferred last year due to the Hangzhou Asian Games held from September 23 to October 8.
The Sports Ministry had unveiled the list of awardees on December 20, 2023, check here.
Among the esteemed recipients was star Indian cricketer Mohammed Shami, who walked into a chorus of applause for his outstanding performance in the ICC Cricket World Cup. Shami emerged as the leading wicket-taker with 24 scalps, breaking several records in the process. Expressing his joy, the veteran pacer mentioned that winning the Arjuna Award was a dream come true, emphasizing the significance of the accolade in the sporting community.
Today I am feeling very proud that I have been honored with the prestigious Arjuna Award by the President. I want to thank all those people who have helped me a lot to reach here and have always supported me in my ups and downs… thanks to My Coach, BCCI,team mates,my family,… pic.twitter.com/fWLGKfY5g8— 𝕸𝖔𝖍𝖆𝖒𝖒𝖆𝖉 𝖘𝖍𝖆𝖒𝖎 (@MdShami11) January 9, 2024
The Arjuna Award, India’s second-highest athletic honor, is bestowed upon athletes for their exceptional performances over the previous four years, coupled with qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, and discipline. The 2023 awardees include para-archer Sheetal Devi Aditi Swami, archers Ojas Pravin Deotale and Aditi Gopichand Swami, and wrestler Antim Panghal, all of whom demonstrated remarkable dedication to their respective sports.
Sheetal Devi Aditi Swami, a para-archer, showcased an exceptional performance at the Para Asian Games, securing three medals, including a women’s team silver, a mixed team gold, and gold in the women’s singles compound open event. Her tenacity and precision in the closely contested match against Singapore’s Alim Nur Syahidah earned her a well-deserved victory with an overall score of 144-142.
This day is special!!— SheetalArcher (@ArcherSheetal) January 9, 2024
Honoured to receive the prestigious Arjuna Award from the honourable President of India.
Thank you all for the love, support & encouragement. pic.twitter.com/TWUmLQgjMQ
Ojas Pravin Deotale, a rising archery star ranked World No. 9, added two gold medals to India’s tally, contributing to the nation’s impressive haul of nine medals, including five gold, in archery. Additionally, wrestler Antim Panghal, a former junior world champion and bronze-winner at the senior event, received recognition for his achievements, along with other notable athletes from diverse sporting disciplines.
The list of Arjuna Awardees for 2023 includes a diverse array of talents such as Ajay Reddy (blind cricket), Parul Chaudhary and Murali Sreeshankar (athletics), Mohd Hussamuddin (boxing), R Vaishali (chess), Divyakriti Singh and Anush Agarwalla (equestrian), Diksha Dagar (golf), Krishan Bahadur Pathak and Sushila Chanu (hockey), Pinky (lawn ball), Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar (shooting), and Ayhika Mukherjee (table tennis).
The National Sports Awards 2023 not only recognize individual excellence but also highlight the collective achievements of India’s diverse sporting talents. The ceremony serves as a platform to celebrate the hard work, dedication, and sportsmanship of these athletes, inspiring the nation to continue supporting and fostering a culture of excellence in sports. As the applause echoed through Rashtrapati Bhawan, the awards underscored the nation’s commitment to honoring its sporting heroes and encouraging the pursuit of greatness in the field of sports.