Virat Kohli’s meteoric rise in world cricket too was recognised as he received the Arjuna Award. President Pranab Mukherjee had a busy evening presenting Arjuna, Dronacharya, Dhyan Chand and Rashtriya Khel Protsahan awards, besides others.
The ceremony was supposed to begin at 6 pm but the president arrived five minutes later than scheduled. The venue this time was Durbar Hall instead of the usual Ashoka Hall.
Sodhi was the first to be feted, getting a medal, citation and cash prize of Rs.7.5 lakh. The 33-year-old is the seventh shooter after Abhinav Bindra (2001-02), Anjali Bhagwat (2002-03), Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (2004-05), Manavjit Singh Sandhu (2006-07), Gagan Narang (2010-11) and Vijay Kumar (2011-12) to get the Khel Ratna. Cricketer Kohli, one of the 15 Arjuna Awardees, stole the limelight while the biggest applause was reserved for para-athlete Amit Kumar Saroha. The recipients in the category got a cash prize of Rs.5 lakh besides statuettes and citations.
The notable absentees from the function were shuttler PV SIndhu and triple jumper R Maheshwary, who were recommended for the Arjuna Award.
Sindhu missed it
Sindhu was in Mumbai for the Indian Badminton League final while Maheswary missed the event despite being in town, following reports of him being tested positive for a banned substance in an athletics meet in 2008. The felicitation usually takes place on the National Sports Day August 29 but it was postponed because of sports minister Jitendra Singh’s unavailability. Sodhi got the due recognition in his third attempt but his special moment came at the back of a controversy.