For the first time in the history of Indian sports, the Sports Ministry on Thursday (September 12) recommended names of nine female athletes for the prestigious Padma Awards.
This is the first time ever – the name of a female athlete – six-time world champion boxer Mary Kom’s name has been sent for the coveted Padma Vibhushan Award, country’s second highest civilian award after Bharat Ratna. Mary was earlier honoured with Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri in 2013 and 2006 respectively.
Recently crowned World Champion, badminton star P.V. Sindhu’s name has also been suggested for the Padma Bhushan Award, country’s third highest civilian award. Sindhu who was awarded Padma Shri in 2015 failed to make it to the final list of nominees for Padma Bhushan in 2017.
The other seven athletes — ace wrestler Vinesh Phogat, Indian women’s cricket team T20I captain Harmanpreet Kaur, captain of the women’s hockey team Rani Rampal, shooter Suma Shirur, ace peddler Manika Batra and mountaineer twins, Tashi and Nungshi Malik — are up for the Padma Shri Award.
According to IANS, sources have said that the names have not yet been cleared by Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju. After being approved, the names will be sent to the Padma Awards Committee of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
“The names are being discussed and the final approval awaits,” the source informed IANS.
The prestigious Padma Vibhushan has earlier been awarded to three male sportspersons – chess champion Vishwanath Anand in 2007, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar in 2008 and ace mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary also in 2008, who was given the award posthumously.
The names of the selected awardees will be announced on the eve of the Republic Day, 25th January 2020.