A day after the Rio Olympics came to an end the sports ministry has announced that the medalists - shuttler
PV Sindhu and wrestler Sakshi Malik will receive the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award along with gymnast Dipa Karmakar and shooter Jiyu Rai.
Karnam Malleswari, Weightlifting:
At the 2000 Olympics she won a bronze medal, thus becoming the first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal. Now a retired weightlifter, she won the world title in the 54kg division in 1994 and 1995. In the year 1994, she won the Arjuna Award and the following year was conferred with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.
Humpy Koneru, Chess:
In the year 2002, she became the youngest woman to achieve the title of grandmaster at the age of 15. In her long career as a chess grandmaster Konera has won many accolades for her performance and also received medals. In the year 2003, she was awarded the prestigious Arjuna Award.
JJ Shobha, Field athlete:
She was the winner of the heptathlon at the inaugural Afro-Asian Games in 2003. She came into news for her performance at 2004 Olympics in Athens. She participated in the seven-discipline heptathlon despite being injured and finished third in the final event (800m) and 11th overall. She was awarded the Arjuna Award in the year 2004 for her courageous performances.
Saina Nehwal, Badminton:
She is the only female badminton player from the country to reach the world no.1 and world no.2 rankings after Prakash Padukone. She has achieved many milestones in the game, and is the only Indian to have won at least a medal in every Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) major individual events. In the year 2006, she became the first Indian female and the youngest Asian to win a 4-star tournament. In 2009, she was awarded Arjuna Award and the following year, 2010, she was conferred with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.
Sania Mirza, Tennis: From 2003 to until her retirement from singles in 2013, she was ranked as India’s no.1 player for both singles and doubles by the Women’s Tennis Association. She is currently ranked no.1 in the women’s doubles rankings. She has achieved a number of firsts including winning a singles Pro-level title and winning six major titles. In addition to this, she is the third Indian woman in the Open Era to feature and win a round at a Grand Slam Tournament. In the year 2004, she received the Arjuna Award and in the year 2015, she was bestowed with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.
Mitali Raj, Cricket: She is the captain of the Indian women’s cricket team. She has played both one-day and test cricket matches for India’s women cricket team. Mitali Raj is the second person to achieve 5000 runs in ODI women cricket matches. She is nicknamed as the “Tendulkar of Indian women’s cricket”, as she is currently the leading run-scorer for Indian in formats including ODI’s, Tests and T20’s. In 2003, she was awarded the Arjuna Award.
PV Sindhu and Sakshi Mallik created history in the recently concluded Olympic Games. Sakshi Mallik broke the no-medal spell for India after 11 days wait, while on the other hand, PV Sindhu became the first Indian shuttler to compete in an Olympic gold medal match.
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award is considered as country’s highest sporting honor and is conferred on a sportsperson for outstanding performance over a period of four years. In regard to this, here is a list of sportswomen who won the prestigious Arjuna and Khel Ratna Award from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
- L Pavani Kodati