For the first time a women athlete’s name was recommended for the prestigious Padma Vibhushan award when the name of six-time world champion boxer Mary Kom was put forwarded by the sports ministry for the country’s second highest civilian honour after the Bharat Ratna.
Mary was among the eleven recommendations made by the ministry for the Padma awards.
Earlier, Mary Kom was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2013 and Padma Shri in 2006.
If she goes on to receive the Padma Vibhushan, she would be the fourth sportsperson to achieve the feat after chess wizard Viswanathan Anand in 2007, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar in 2008 and mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary, who was awarded posthumously in 2008.
Meanwhile, Star shuttler PV Sindhu has been recommended for the Padma Bhushan, the country’s third highest civilian award. She recently became the first Indian to win the world championship in August.
This is not the first time that Sindhu’s name has been recommended by the sports ministry. In 2017, Sindhu was overlooked despite the recommendation.
Sindhu was awarded the Padma Shri in 2015.
Archer Tarundeep Rai and hockey Olympian MP Ganesh were on Thursday recommended for the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour in India, alongside seven women sportspersons by the Sports Ministry.
Besides Rai and Ganesh, seven women in this year’s list of recommendations for the Padma Shri award are wrestler Vinesh Phogat, Manika Batra (table tennis), cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur, hockey team captain Rani Rampal, former shooter Suma Shirur and mountaineer twin sisters Tashi and Nungshi Malik.
Archer Rai was part of the Indian recurve team, along side Atanu Das and Pravin Jadhav, that won a silver medal at the World Championships in Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands in June this year. They earned an Olympic quota along with three single athlete quotas in the men's recurve individual event.
Ganesh was part of the Indian men's hockey team that won the bronze medal in the 1972 Munich Olympics. He was also a member of the sides that won a World Cup bronze in 1971 Barcelona and silver in 1973 Amsterdam.
A Sports Ministry source confirmed the two new additions to the Padma recommendations list but said they are yet to be approved by the Minister.
"“MP Ganesh and Tarundeep were late additions to the list. While the seven women recommended for Padma Shri this year are more or less certain to make the final list, Ganesh and Tarundeep’s cases will be decided by the Padma awards committee of the Ministry of Home Affairs.”" - Sports Ministry source
"The list is yet to be sent to the awards committee as the Sports Minister has not approved it. He is busy travelling and once he gives his approval, it will be forwarded to the awards committee," the source added.
The names of Padma winners will be disclosed on the eve of the Republic Day next year.
(With inputs from PTI)
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