NEW DELHI, Jan 25: Star para athlete Devendra Jhajharia was on Tuesday named for the prestigious Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian honour in the country while Olympic gold winning javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra was among the eight sports persons named for Padma Shri award.
Forty-year old Jhajharia has two gold medals in the javelin competition of Paralympic Games, 2004 Athens and more recently in Rio 2016.
He won a silver in the F46 event at the Tokyo Paralympics last year.
Chopra, the 24-year-old javelin thrower, made history in the Tokyo Olympics by becoming the first Indian to win a gold in a track and field event in Games’ history.
He also became only the second Indian to win an individual Olympic gold after shooter Abhinav Bindra.
“Humbled and honoured to know that I have been named as a recipient of the Padma Shri award and the Param Vishisht Seva Medal. I thank you all for your good wishes and blessings and will continue to work hard to do my best for the nation,” Chopra, who is training in the US, tweeted.
The other Padma Shri awardees include 20-year-old para shooter Avani Lekhara, para badminton player Pramod Bhagat and para javelin thrower Sumit Antil.
Also getting the honour was 93-year-old Kalaripayattu (indigenous martial art form) legend Sankaranarayana Menon Chundayil, former international martial arts champion Faisal Ali Dar, 67-year-old former Indian football team captain Brahmanand Sankhwalkar and 29-year-old women’s hockey player Vandana Kataria.
Sankhawalkar is one of the best goalkeepers India produced. He led the team from 1983 to 1986.
Women’s hockey player Kataria has played more than 200 games for India and record a hat-trick in the Tokyo Olympics where India made history by finishing fourth.
The Padma Awards are conferred by the President of India at a ceremonial function in Rashtrapati Bhawan around March-April every year. (PTI)