NEW DELHI: On Saturday, President Ram Nath Kovind conferred the Padma Awards to 47 prominent and inspiring personalities, including nine from sports. Prominent among those who received the prestigious honour were ace cricketer Gautam Gambhir, MDH group owner Mahashay Dharampal Gulati, football captain Sunil Chhetri, basketball player Prashanti Singh, archer Bombayla Devi Laishram and grandmaster Harika Dronavalli.
Cricketer Gambhir was conferred with Padma Shri – the country's fourth highest civilian award –for his immense and inspiring contribution to the game of Cricket. Bachendri Pal, who was the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest, was honoured with the country's third highest civilian award - Padma Bhushan. Padma Awards - one of the highest civilian awards of the country - are conferred in three categories, namely - Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri.
The awards are given in various disciplines and fields of activities, viz- art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc.This year 112 personalities received the honour, out of which 56 personalities were given away the honour on March 11 and the rest were accorded with the awards on Saturday. Sports personalities who have received this prestigious award on March 11 included Harika Dronavalli, chess player; Sharath Kamal, table tennis player; Bajrang Punia, freestyle wrestler and Ajay Thakur, captain of Indian Kabaddi team.