Ravindra Jadeja, the Indian cricket team allrounder, was honoured with the Arjuna Award during the National Sports Day function which was held at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday. However, Jadeja missed the ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday on the occasion of National Sports Day as he is currently at the Caribbean with the national team for the Test series. The second and final Test between India and West Indies will be played at Sabina Park, Jamaica on Friday and India will be aiming to end their tour on the ultimate high by not losing a single game on the entire tour.
Speaking from the Caribbean, Jadeja thanked the Government of India for honouring him and said this will inspire him to give his best every single time. In a video message released on the official Twitter handle of the BCCI, Jadeja said, "First of all, I would like to thank the Government of India for honouring me with the Arjuna award. I would also like to congratulate the other winners as well. They've performed brilliantly in their fields. My sincere effort always will be to lift the reputation of the Indian team and my country whenever I play for India. I will always try to win matches for the team and make the country proud," Jadeja said.
Deepa Malik, who secured a silver in the shot put F53 category in the 2016 Rio Paralympics, was awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award. Malik was joint winner of the top honour with Asian and Commonwealth Games champion Bajrang Punia, who is in Russia to prepare for the upcoming World Championships in Kazakhstan. Malik became only the second para-athlete after double Paralympic gold-medallist javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia, who received the recognition in 2017, to have won the prestigious award. At 49, she also became the oldest athlete ever to have claimed the honour.
As per guidelines, to be eligible for the award, a sportsperson should not only have had good performance consistently for the previous four years at the international level with excellence for the year for which the Award is recommended, but should also have shown qualities of leadership, sportsmanship and a sense of discipline.
Apart from Jadeja, Asian Games gold-medallist shot-putter Tejinder Pal Singh Toor and silver-winner quartermiler Mohammed Anas were absent and could not collect the Arjuna award. Toor and Anas are competing in the national inter-state athletics meet in Lucknow.