The Telegraph
Saturday , January 26 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
CIMA Gallary

Padma Bhushan for Rahul, Mary Kom

New Delhi: Rahul Dravid and M C Mary Kom were, on Friday, named for the prestigious Padma Bhushan Awards, the third highest civilian honour, while six other sportspersons figured in the list of Padma Shri awardees.

Dravid, one of India’s finest batsmen, was chosen for the coveted Padma Bhushan, adding another feather to his already glittering cap.

Apart from Dravid and Mary Kom, six others sportspersons — mountaineer Premlata Agrawal, wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, para-athlete Hosanagara Nagarajegowda Girisha, Vijay Kumar, N Dingko Singh and rower Bajrang Lal Takhar were chosen for the Padma Shri Awards.

Dravid, the lone cricketer in the list, is the third highest run-getter in Test history behind Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting.

The 29-year-old Mary Kom had become the first Indian woman boxer to win bronze at London Olympics while competing in 51kg. She was also crowned world champion five times.

The Manipuri is also the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six World Championships.

“I am surprised that I got this award because my name was not there in the list. It is a big honour for me to be considered for this award and I feel truly humbled. It is no doubt a proud moment for me,” Mary Kom said.

“Although boxing is going through difficult times, personally this has been a great achievement and I feel elated that all my efforts have got the recognition,” she added.

The government recognised the medal-winning achievements of sportspersons in the 2012 London Olympics with shooter Vijay Kumar and wrestler Yogeshwar also featuring in the list of Padma Shri awardees.

The 27-year-old Vijay had won the silver in 25m rapid fire pistol shooting event while the 30-year-old Yogeshwar had won a bronze in the 60kg freestyle.

Yogeshwar had won the gold medal in the 2003 Commonwealth Wrestling Championship.

Wrestler Sushil Kumar, who had created history by becoming the first Indian to win back-to-back Olympic medals, was not considered since he had won the Padma Shri in 2011 and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2009.

Vijay Kumar hails from Barsar village of Hamirpur district of Himachal Pradesh and is presently a serving Subedar Major in the Dogra Regiment (16th Battalion) Indian Army.