Olympic bronze medallist MC Mary Kom will be conferred with the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian award, on the occasion of India’s 71st Republic Day, while Indian Olympic silver-medallist PV Sindhu is poised to be bestowed with the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian award.
The Padma Vibhushan is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service while the Padma Bhushan is for distinguished service of the high order.
The Padma Shri — India’s fourth-highest civilian citation — awardees include Indian hockey women’s captain Rani Rampal, former Indian cricketer Zaheer Khan, former Indian men’s hockey player MP Ganesh, shooter Jitu Rai, former Indian women’s football captain Oinam Bembem Devi and archer Tarundeep Rai.
Magical Mary Kom
Indian boxer MC Mary Kom is a six-time World Amateur Boxing Champion and has already won the Padma Shri in 2006, and the Padma Bhushan in 2013.
The 36-year-old pugilist mother-of-two clinched the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics and will be hoping to add to her tally at Tokyo 2020 later in the year, provided she makes it through the qualifiers.
PV Sindhu: Shuttler extraordinaire
PV Sindhu won the silver medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio and is, till date, the only Indian to win a World Championship gold in badminton — a feat she achieved in August 2019. Prior to that, the 24-year-old won a pair of silver and bronze medals each at the event.
Along with Mary Kom, the ace shuttler will also be hoping to add to her Olympic medal tally at Tokyo 2020.
Jitu Rai: Synonymous with Jeet (victory)
Having won the Khel Ratna award in 2016, Indian shooter Jitu Rai is a two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist, having won the yellow metal in the 50m Pistol category at Glasgow in 2014 and in the 10m Air Pistol category at Gold Coast in 2018.
Jitu Rai is also a silver medallist at the ISSF World Shooting Championships and a two-time ISSF World Cup gold medallist.
Rani Rampal and the rest
Indian hockey striker-midfielder Rani Rampal, who is widely regarded as one of the finest hockey players in the world has been conferred the Padma Shri, awarded for distinguished services in any field. The 25-year-old Haryana native won the bronze medal at the 2013 Women's Hockey Junior World Cup. She also bagged bronze and silver at the 2014 and 2018 editions of the Asian Games respectively.
1972 Olympic bronze-medallist MP Ganesh is no stranger to prestigious awards either; the former Indian hockey player, and later captain and then coach, was conferred the Arjuna Award in 1973.
Indian archer Tarundeep Rai, also an Arjuna Award winner, is a two-time World Archery Champion (2005 and 2019) and a bronze medallist in the Asian Archery Championships during those two years. Apart from that, the 35-year-old also bagged the silver and bronze medals at the 2006 and 2010 Asian Games respectively.
While the names of the awardees were announced by the Indian government on January 25, the eve of the nation’s 71st Republic Day, the awards will be conferred by the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, at a ceremonial function held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan sometime in March or April.