New Delhi [India], August 29 (ANI): President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday conferred the country's highest sporting honour Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award to Paralympian Indian star Devendra Jhajharia and former Indian hockey skipper Sardar Singh.
The prestigious award is given for the spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports by a sportsperson over a period of four years.
Jhajharia, who also clinched the gold medal in the javelin event at the 2004 Athens Paralympics with a record throw of 62.15 metres, became the first Indian to bag two gold medals at the Paralympics after he broke his own world record to win the top honours at the Rio Olympics.
The Rajasthan-born athlete, with an amputated left hand, improved upon it with an attempt of 63.97 metres at the Olympic Stadium (Engenhao) in Rio de Janeiro.
Jhajharia was also awarded the Arjuna award in 2004 while he also became the first Paralympian to receive the Padma Shri in 2012.
Meanwhile, Sardar, who led the side to the bronze medal in the 2015 Hockey World League, has also guided India to two successive silver medal finishes in the Commonwealth Games.
The specially organised ceremony was held at the Rashtrapati Bhawan on the occasion of National Sports Day, celebrated in dedication to the great hockey player Major Dhyan Chand.
The government also bestowed the Dronacharya Award, the honour for excellence in sports coaching, to Late Dr. R. Gandhi (athletics), Heera Nand Kataria (Kabaddi), G.S.S.V. Prasad (Badminton) (lifetime), Brij Bhushan Mohanty (Boxing) (lifetime), P.A. Raphel (Hockey) (lifetime), Sanjoy Chakraverthy (Shooting) (lifetime) and Roshan Lal (Wrestling) (lifetime).
In addition, 17 sportspersons across various disciplines were honoured with the Arjuna Award for their consistent performance in the last four years. This list is as follows:
1. Jyothi Surekha Vennam (archery)
2. Khushbir Kaur (athletics)
3. Rajiv Arokia (athletics)
4. Prashanthi Singh (basketball)
5. Laishram Devendro Singh (boxing)
6. Cheteshwar Pujara (cricket)
7. Harmanpreet Kaur (cricket)
8. Oinam Bembem Devi (football)
9. SSP Chawrasia (golf)
10. SV Sunil (hockey)
11. Jasvir Singh (kabaddi)
12. Prakash Nanjappa (shooting)
13. Anthony Amalraj (table tennis)
14. Saketh Myneni (tennis)
15. Satyawart Kadian (wrestling)
16. Mariyappan (para-athlete)
17. Varun Singh Bhati (para-athlete) (ANI)