New Delhi [India], November 13 (ANI): India men's hockey goalkeeper PR Sreejesh on Saturday expressed his gratitude after being conferred with Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award on Saturday.
Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, wrestler Ravi Kumar, para shooter Avani Lekhara, hockey star PR Sreejesh, Indian football team skipper Sunil Chhetri and India women's cricket stalwart Mithali Raj were among the 12 athletes who received the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award on Saturday.
"It is a proud moment for everyone. As you know that hockey is not a popular sport in Kerala but after the Olympics, things are changing. Being from Kerala and winning the Khel Ratna is really a very big thing for me," Sreejesh told ANI.
The 33-year old further said that winning the bronze medal in hockey for India after a long gap is a 'motivation' and 'responsibility' at the same time.
"India has a history of winning medals in hockey but we have won a medal after a huge break. So, it's a kind of motivation for the coming generation to come out and perform and at the same time it's a responsiblity of carrying forward the winning record of our country," he said.
Meanwhile, Tokyo Paralympics gold medallist Sumit Antil also said thanked the Indian government, his parents and friends who always stood by his side during his tremendous journey of success.
"I am feeling proud and honoured to be conferred with Khel Ratna. I would like to thank the Indian government for this prestigious award. I also want to thank my parents, friends and all those who believed in me," said Sumit Antil.
"My life had been full of struggles. But in the end, there are people who prayed for me during my match and I achieved success. I will work hard and carry forward my world record," he added.
Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award is given for the spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports by a sportsperson over a period of the previous four years.
The specially organised award function was held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. National Sports Awards are given every year to recognise and reward excellence in sports. (ANI)