Gautam Gambhir conferred Padma Shri Award along with seven other sportpersons

Gautam Gambhir conferred Padma Shri Award along with seven other sportpersons

A total of eight sportspersons were picked for the country’s fourth highest civilian award ahead of the 70th Republic Day of India.

Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir. (Photo by Gurinder Osan/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Former India opener Gautam Gambhir, who retired last month from all form of cricket, has been conferred the prestigious Padma Shri Award, along with 94 other recipients. A total of eight sportspersons were picked for the country’s fourth highest civilian award ahead of the 70th Republic Day of India on 26th January 2019.

The list of awardees included besides Gambhir, Indian football team captain Sunil Chhetri, chess player Harika Dronavalli, wrestler Bajrang Punia, table tennis player Sharath Kamal, basketball player Prashanti Singh, kabaddi star Ajay Thakur and archer Bombayla Devi Laishram.

The award will be of special significance for Gambhir who was honoured with the Arjuna Award in 2009. The gritty southpaw from Delhi continued to play domestic cricket for two more years since appearing last for India in an international match and wrapped it up with a hundred in a Ranji Trophy game against Andhra.

Gambhir had an illustrious international career, scoring over 10,000 runs with 20 hundreds. He was part of both the Indian squads that won world titles in the 2007 World T20 and ICC World Cup 2011 and played top knocks in the final of both the tournaments.

As a captain too, Gambhir has left a bright legacy. He led India to a 5-0 win in a ODI series besides captaining Kolkata Knight Riders to the Indian Premier League (IPL) title twice. One of the most serious students of the game, the 37-year-old has also been known for his straightforward talks and charity works, whether it is sponsoring children of martyred soldiers or backing young talents in cricket.

Sunil Chhetri also received Padma Shri

The felicitation of Chhetri also marks a high for the man who recently bettered the record of Argentine great Lionel Messi to become the second highest scorer in international football among active players.

This year, the number of Padma Awards recipients is 112 and they comprise four Padma Vibhushan, 14 Padma Bhushan besides the 94 Padma Shri recipients.

Former Indian president Pranab Mukherjee was conferred Bharat Ratna, along with Bharatiya Jana Sangh leader Nanaji Deshmukh and singer Bhupen Hazarika. Deshmukh and Hazarika received the award posthumously.

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