Indian T20I skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and table tennis ace Manika Batra were recommended for the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour in India, alongside seven other sportspersons by the Sports Ministry.
Besides Harmanpreet and Manika, the seven others in this year’s list of recommendations for the Padma Shri award are wrestler Vinesh Phogat, archer Tarundeep Rai, hockey Olympian M.P. Ganesh, national women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal, former shooter Suma Shirur and mountaineer twin sisters Tashi and Nungshi Malik.
Rai and Ganesh were late additions to the list, which is yet to be approved by Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju.
In six-time world champion M C Mary Kom, the Sports Ministry has, for the first time, recommended a woman athlete for the prestigious Padma Vibhushan award, the country’s second highest civilian honour after Bharat Ratna.
Mary Kom had won the Padma Bhushan in 2013 and Padma Shri way back in 2006.
The Sports Ministry has also recommended world champion and Olympic silver medallist shuttler PV Sindhu for the Padma Bhushan, the country’s third highest civilian honour.
In 2017, Sindhu was recommended for the Padma Bhushan but she failed to make the final list. The badminton star won the Padma Shri award in 2015.
Archer Rai was part of the Indian recurve team, along side Atnau Das and Pravin Jadhav, that won a silver medal at the World Championships in Hertogenbosch, Netherlands in June this year.
They earned an Olympic quota along with three single athlete quotas in the men’s recurve individual event.
Ganesh was part of the Indian men’s hockey team that won the bronze medal in the 1972 Munich Olympics.
He was also a member of the sides that won a World Cup bronze in 1971 Barcelona and silver in 1973 Amsterdam.
A Sports Ministry source confirmed the two new additions to the Padma recommendations list but said they are yet to be approved by the Minister.
“MP Ganesh and Tarundeep were late additions to the list. While the seven women recommended for Padma Shri this year are more or less certain to make the final list, Ganesh and Tarundeep’s cases will be decided by the Padma awards committee of the Ministry of Home Affairs,” the source told PTI.
“The list is yet to be sent to the awards committee as the Sports Minister has not approved it. He is busy travelling and once he gives his approval, it will be forwarded to the awards committee,” he added.
The names of Padma winners will be disclosed on the eve of the Republic Day next year.
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