Kolkata: The centre has cleared Padma awards for ex Indian cricket skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Olympic medal winning badminton player PV Sindhu and her national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who has led the Indian Cricket Team from the year 2007, recently stepped down as the captain in January, 2016. He has been one of the most successful captains India have ever produced.
In his 10 years of captaincy, he has provided the nation with 2 world cups. Out of the 60 Tests in which he was the skipper, India has won a record 27 of them. He has been the most successful skipper of all the three formats of the game, winning the T20 World Cup, the ODI World Cup, The Champions Trophy and many Test series.
He has been the only player to win the ‘ICC ODI player of the Year’ twice (2008 and 2009). He has been conferred the honorary rank of ‘Lieutenant Colonel’ by the Indian Territorial Army. He is the second Indian cricketer, after Kapil Dev to receive this honour. In 2012, he was ranked as the 16th most marketable athlete in the world. For his grand success and contribution to Indian Cricket, Dhoni was honoured with the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest Civilian honour in the year 2009.
Pusarla Venkata Sindhu, the 21 year old Badminton player has had a phenomenal 2016. The tall shuttler coached under the Gopichand Badminton Academy swept away others to win the Malaysian Grand Pix Gold medal last year. This stupendous performance of her continued in the Rio Olympics, where she reached all the way to bag a Silver Medal after putting up an intense fight with Spain’s Carolina Marin in the finals. She has also won the China Open, her first Super Series title in November.
Sindhu has been the first Indian woman to win an Olympic Silver medal. She has been the first Indian shuttler to reach the finale of an Olympic Badminton event. Also, she is the youngest Indian to make a podium finish in an individual event at the Olympics. She has been one of the two Indian shuttlers to ever win an Olympic Medal, other one being Saina Nehwal. In March 2015, Sindhu became the youngest recipient of the Padma Shri due to her immense success at such a young age.
Pullela Gopichand, who has been the backbone of Indian Badminton, has contributed highly to the grand success of the game in International platforms. He has trained, both PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal and helped them put up a spectacular performance in the Olympics. Both the players have dedicated their success to their 43 years old Coach. He runs ‘The Gopichand Badminton Academy’ which is credited to give birth to high profile players like Sindhu and Saina.
Apart from coaching, Gopichand holds an Arjuna Award (1999), the Dronacharya Award (2009) and also the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest honour (2014).
(Inputs from Hindustan Times & agencies)