Padma Shri for Gautam Gambhir, Sunil Chhetri & Bajrang Punia

Legendary mountaineer Bachendri Pal was conferred with the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award.

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From left: Sunil Chhetri, Gautam Gambhir and Bajrang Punia.

Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir was conferred with the Padma Shri on Friday, along with footballer Sunil Chhetri and freestyle wrestler Bajrang Punia.

Apart from the trio, other sportspersons to have received the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour, this year included Dronavalli Harika (chess), Sharath Kamal (table tennis), Bombayla Devi Laishram (archery), Ajay Thakur (kabaddi) and Prashanti Singh (basketball).

Meanwhile, 64-year-old legendary mountaineer, Bachendri Pal was conferred with the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award. Pal, who was the first Indian woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1984, has been bestowed with the honour for “distinguished service of a high order”.

Gambhir played match-winning knocks in the finals of India's World T20 win in 2007 and the 2011 World Cup title triumph in 2011. The 37-year-old announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket in December last year.

The 34-year-old Chhetri has led the Indian football team with distinction for over a decade now, and is the all-time highest scorer in the country. Chhetri is the second highest number of goals in international matches among active players after Cristiano Ronaldo.

Bajrang is a World Championship silver and bronze medallist besides winning gold at Asian Games and Commonwealth Games in 2018.

Last year Bajrang was left fuming when he was not selected for the prestigious Khel Ratna award. Cricketer Virat Kohli and Weight lifter Mirabai Chanu were recommended for country's highest sports award.

Successful athletes such as Kamal, Bombayla Devi and Harika continue to represent India in their respective sports.

The government conferred Padma awards to 112 people this year -- 4 Padma Vibushan, 14 Padma Bhushan and 94 Padma Shri.


(With inputs from PTI)

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