New Delhi :
Indian President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday conferred the two most prestigious awards an Indian citizen can get at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The Mountaineering expert Bachendri Pal was the only sportsperson to be awarded third highest civilian award - Padma Bhushan. Punia had a great year in 2018 as he won gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. He also bagged a silver medal at World Championships and a bronze medal at the Asian Championships last year.
Sportspersons including champion wrestler Bajrang Punia, veteran table-tennis players Sharath Kamal and chess grandmaster Harika Dronavalli were honoured with the Padma Shri by the President. Sharath Kamal, who has been leading India’s charge in men’s table tennis for years had a highly rewarding 2018 too.
He won as many as four medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, including a historic gold in the men’s team event. The former left-handed Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir, who has been the hero for India in ICC World cup 2007 and 2011 was the only cricketer in the list to be awarded Padma Shri.
As many as 112 ‘inspiring’ personalities were selected for this year’s Padma awards and their names were announced on the eve of Republic Day this year. The remaining awardees are likely to be conferred the honour at another function to be held on March 16, a Home Ministry official said.