NEW DELHI, Sept 25: Ace cricketer Virat Kohli sent the shutterbugs into a clicking frenzy as he received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, sharing the country�s highest sporting honour with diminutive weightlifting world champion Mirabai Chanu at the Rashtrapati Bhawan here on Tuesday.
Star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who won gold medals in the Commonwealth and Asian Games this year, and junior world champion sprinter Hima Das were among the 20 sportspersons who received the Arjuna Awards from President Ram Nath Kovind here. The ceremony, which is traditionally held on August 29 to commemorate the birth anniversary of hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand, was pushed to September 25 this year to avoid a clash of dates with the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang on September 2.
Kohli was accompanied by his actor wife Anushka Sharma, his mother Saroj Kohli and his elder brother Vikas at the ceremony.
Kohli is the third cricketer to be honoured with the Khel Ratna after batting legend Sachin Tendulkar (1997-1998) and former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (2007). The world�s No. 1 Test batsman as per the ICC rankings, has been in stupendous form in the past three years though he missed out of the top award despite nominations in 2016 and 2017.
List of Awardees
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award: Virat Kohli and Mirabai Chanu.
Arjuna Awards: Neeraj Chopra, Jinson Johnson and Hima Das (Athletics); N Sikki Reddy (Badminton); Satish Kumar (Boxing); Smriti Mandhana (Cricket); Shubhankar Sharma (Golf); Manpreet Singh, Savita (Hockey), Ravi Rathore (Polo), Rahi Sarnobat, Ankur Mittal, Shreyasi Singh (Shooting); Manika Batra, G Sathiyan (Table Tennis); Rohan Bopanna (Tennis); Sumit (Wrestling); Pooja Kadian (Wushu); Ankur Dhama (Para-Athletics); Manoj Sarkar (Para-Badminton).
Dronacharya Awards: CA Kuttappa (Boxing); Vijay Sharma (Weightlifting); A Srinivasa Rao (Table Tennis); Sukhdev Singh Pannu (Athletics); Clarence Lobo (Hockey, Lifetime); Tarak Sinha (Cricket, Lifetime); Jiwan Kumar Sharma (Judo, Lifetime); VR Beedu (Athletics, Lifetime).
Dhyan Chand Awards: Satyadev Prasad (Archery); Bharat Kumar Chetry (Hockey); Bobby Aloysius (Athletics); Chougale Dadu Dattatray (Wrestling).
Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar: Identification and Nurturing of Budding and Young Talent: Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited, Encouragement to Sports through Corporate Social Responsibility: JSW Sports, Sports for Development: Isha Outreach, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy 2017-18: Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar. � PTI