The Maharashtra government has bestowed the 'Shiv Chhatrapati Lifetime Achievement Award' on mallakhamb coach Uday Deshpande for 2017-18. An announcement to this effect was made by the state Sports Minister Vinod Tawde at a media conference here where he also declared the other award winners.
"The (Shiv Chhatrapati) lifetime achievement award is being conferred upon Uday Deshpande of Samarth Vyayam Mandir, who has dedicated his life for mallakhamb," Tawde said.
Deshpande has been promoting and coaching mallakhamb, a traditional Indian sport dating back to the 12th century where the practitioner performs gymnastic and yoga postures with wrestling grips on an erect pole or a suspended rope, at the 'Samarth Vyayam Mandir' at Shivaji Park in Central Mumbai.
The names of the Shiv Chhatrapati award winners in the players' category also include Indian women's cricket team sensation Smriti Mandhana, who hails from Sangli in western Maharashtra.
Tawde also announced that these awards will be given away at the iconic 'Gateway of India' on February 17 during a glittering ceremony.
Among the other award recipients are hockey player Suraj Karkera, paddler Sanil Shetty, track and field athlete Siddhant Thingaliya, who specialises in 110 meters hurdles, runner Monika Athare and squash player Mahesh Mangaonkar.
The sports minister also announced that Satara's mountaineer Priyanka Mohite, who has scaled the Mt Everest and the Mt Lhotse among other peaks, will be awarded the 'Shiv Chhatrapati Award for Adventure'.
The state government will also be giving 'Eklavya State Awards' for physically handicapped players and 'Shiv Chhatrapati' awards for associations and coaches.