Other Sports

Bajrang finally gets his Khel Ratna

Recognising excellence: Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju with Mohinder Singh Dhillon, Bajrang Punia, Muhammad Anas and Tejinderpal Singh Toor.

Recognising excellence: Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju with Mohinder Singh Dhillon, Bajrang Punia, Muhammad Anas and Tejinderpal Singh Toor.  

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Sports Minister Rijiju awards National honours to five

With the season all but over and the Olympics less than 10 months away, Bajrang Punia is in the final stretch of his preparations for the 2020 Games. And the wrestler is determined to make his maiden outing at Tokyo a memorable one.

Punia, who missed out on receiving the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna earlier this year due to his preparations for the World Championships, was handed over the same by Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Thursday. The Asian and Commonwealth champion won bronze at the competition in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, in September to secure an Olympic spot in the 65kg category.

Increased responsibility

“Any sportsperson feels good after receiving an award and it is the biggest sports award anyone can ask for. My sole focus is on the Olympics now and my responsibility has increased. I have recovered from my injury and have been training on the mat for the last 10-12 days,” Punia said after receiving the award. He was also handed a cheque of ₹32,70,000.

Punia, who was honoured with Padma Shri this year, had caused a stir after being ignored for the Khel Ratna last year but was the unanimous choice this time around. He recently got engaged to fellow- wrestler Sangeeta Phogat.

Also receiving their respective Arjuna Awards on the occasion were National record-holders quartermiler Muhammad Anas and shotputter Tejinderpal Singh Toor while Toor’s coach Mohinder Singh Dhillon was conferred the Dronacharya Award.

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 10:00:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/bajrang-finally-gets-his-khel-ratna/article30109320.ece

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