New Delhi, August 19: In an unprecedented move, eight names from the Indian Para sports fraternity including four prominent Para athletes – Mariyappan Thangavelu, Sandeep Chaudhary, Manish Narwal and Suyash Jadhav – have been recommended for this year’s National Sports Awards which will be given out virtually on August 29, 2020.
While Mariyappan is only the third Indian Para athlete to be awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award after former Paralympic medallists Devendra Jhajharia and Deepa Malik (both Para Athletics); Chaudhary (Para Athletics), Narwal (Shooting Para sport) and Jadhav (Para Swimming) have made it to the list of 29 Arjuna Awardees recommended by the National Sports Awards Selection Committee headed by Retired Supreme Court Justice Mukundakam Sharma.
With the latest addition, the number of Para athletes winning the Arjuna Awards has reached 30 and altogether a total number of 47 National Sports Award winners from the Parasport fraternity since its inception in 1961 (Arjuna Awards).
Para Badminton coach Gaurav Khanna, who has been the reason behind the meteoric rise of Indian Para Badminton globally over the years, has finally found his name in the recommendation list for this year’s Dronacharya Award along with four others.
Indian Para Powerlifting founder and national coach Vijay Munishwar has been included in the list for the Dronacharya Lifetime award for his services to the sport.
Among the Dhyan Chand awardees, J. Ranjit Kumar and Sathya Prakash Tiwari have been recommended in the list of 15.
Congratulating the winners, Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) President Deepa Malik, also a Khel Ratna, Arjuna and Padma Shree awardee and a member of this year’s Selection Committee, said: "These recognitions are a big motivation and boost towards the Paralympic Movement in the country. And it has come at the right time to motivate our athletes and coaches to work harder towards their Paralympic dreams. My heartiest congratulations to all the award winners."
PCI Secretary General Gursharan Singh added: "It is a proud moment and a new beginning with 8 awards for the entire Indian Para sports fraternity, including PCI. All the winners should be proud of their hard work in the past years and continue doing that. Results, recognitions and motivation to the other fellow athletes will only follow. Congratulations and Good Luck to the winners and best wishes for the fellow aspiring athletes for their future endeavours."
Big motivation for Tokyo 2020 preparation
The 26-year-old Mariyappan hogged the limelight when he won the gold medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in men’s High Jump T42 category before adding the bronze at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai 2019. Already an Arjuna and Padma Shree awardee in 2017, the recognition will add fillip to his preparations for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Chaudhary, who won India’s first medal at the Indonesia 2018 Asian Para Games with a world record, went on to become the world champion bettering his own record in men’s Javelin F64 category at Dubai 2019. He is one of India's strongest prospects for winning a gold at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
For 18-year-old Narwal, he became the only second Para Shooter to get the Arjuna after Naresh Kumar won it in the year 1997. The award will surely add to the teenager’s motivation who has already created a buzz with his sharp shooting skills winning 19 National and 17 International medals in the last three years.
Besides, he has broken world records nine times and has won three bronze medals at the World Championships in 2019.
Meanwhile, Jadhav was the only Indian Para swimmer to have achieved the ‘A’ qualifying mark for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio in S7 category. He is also a two-time gold medallist at the IWAS World Games.
Para sport personalities recommended for National Sports Awards 2020:
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna: Thangavelu Mariyappan (Para Athletics)
Arjuna Award: Sandeep Chaudhary (Para Athletics), Manish Narwal (Shooting Para sport) and Suyash Jadhav (Para Swimming)
Dronacharya Lifetime award: Vijay Munishwar (para powerlifting),
Dronacharya award: Gaurav Khanna (Para Badminton)
Dhyan Chand award: J Ranjit Kumar (Para Athletics), Sathya Prakash Tiwari (multi-sport)
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