NEW DELHI, Jan 25 (PTI): Star cricketer VVS Laxman and world champion wrestler Sushil Kumar were among seven sportspersons who were today honoured with the prestigious Padma Shri Award for their contribution in their respective sports. Besides Laxman and Sushil, the other five conferred with the civilian award were weightlifter Kunjarani Devi, shooter Gagan Narang, discus thrower Krishna Poonia, para jumper Shital Mahajan and mountaineer Harbhajan Singh.
36-year-old Laxman, who has scored 7903 runs in 120 Tests at an average of 47.32, has played many a memorable match-winning knocks for India in his nearly 15-year-old international career starting 1996. He entered into the cricketing folklore with his magnificent 281 against Steve Waugh�s Australia in 2001, which helped India script a historic win after following on at the Eden Gardens Test. In the past one year, the stylish batsman from Hyderabad has been the saviour on many occasions. He won the third Test for India against Sri Lanka with an unbeaten 103 to level the three-match series 1-1 in August last year.
Laxman then battled severe back pain to hit an unbeaten 73 and win the second Test against Australia in Mohali in October last year, before a similar act last month against South Africa in Durban, where he scored 96 to win the second Test and level the series.