The Home Ministry of India on the eve of 73rd Republic Day announced the list of the recipients of Padma Awards 2022. A total of 128 people have been included in the list for one of the prestigious civilian awards of the country conferred in three categories- Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri. These 128 people will be conferred with the respective awards by the President at ceremonial functions held at his official residence - the Rashtrapati Bhawan - around March or April each year.
Among these 128 individuals, there are a total of 9 sportspeople from different fields that have been honored with the prestigious award. From Tokyo Olympic Gold medalist Neeraj Chopra to Tokyo Paralympics gold medalist Avani Lekhara, all the top achievers from the past year have been included in the list. Devendra Jhajharia has been honored with Padham Bhushan while the other eight individuals are the Padma Shri for 2022.
Let's look at the complete list of nine people and their achievements in the past year.
1. Devendra Jhajharia (Padma Bhushan)
Devendra Jhajharia has been included in the list of Padma Bhushan awardees and is the lone sportsperson in that category. Jhajharia, 40, represents India in the Paralympic Javelin Throw event. The Rajasthan-born athlete has won three gold medals and finished the Tokyo Paralympics campaign with a silver medal.
2. Neeraj Chopra
Neeraj Chopra who won the first Olympic gold medal for India in the track and field event has been honored with the Padma Shri award. Chopra won the gold medal in the Javelin throw event at the Tokyo Olympics with a record 88.07m throw. The Panipat-born athlete has also been awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal on Tuesday for his distinguished service by the Indian Army. He was conferred with the Arjuna Award in 2018, Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM) in 2020, and Khel Ratna in 2021 for excellence in sports.
3. Avani Lekhara
The 20-year-old para shooter has been honored with the third most prestigious civilian award, Padma Shri for her memorable outing at the Tokyo Paralympics last year. Lekhara won the gold medal in 10m air rifle standing and became the first Indian woman to win a Paralympic gold medal. She also won the bronze medal in 50m rifle 3 positions. Lekhara was also among the Khel Ratna awardees last year.
4. Sumit Antil
Sumit Antil is also a Paralympian and Javelin thrower who competes in the F64 category. Antil won the gold medal in the javelin throw event at the 2022 Summer Paralympics. He also holds the current world record for longest javelin throw having thrown 68.55 metres in the Paralympic final. Sumit has also been honored with Padma Shri 2022.
5. Pramod Bhagat
India's gold medalist at the Tokyo Paralympics in the para-badminton men's singles SL3, Pramod Bhagat has been honored with the Padma Shri for the year 2022. Pramod is also the no. 1 ranked player in the respective category.
Also Read: Neeraj Chopra to receive Param Vishisht Seva Medal from President on Republic Day eve
6. Vandana Kataria
Vandana represents India in the national hockey and was a part of the Women's team which competed at the Tokyo Olympics. Kataria had scored four goals for her team in the Olympics. She has also been honored with Padma Shri.
7. Shri Brahmanand Sankhwalkar
India men's football team's former captain Brahmanand Sankhwalkar has also been honored with Padma Shri for the year 2022. Sankhwalkar has been awarded for his contribution to the development of Indian football.
8. Faisal Ali Dar
Faisal Ali Dar, a martial artist from Jammu and Kashmir, has also been included in the list of Padma Shri awardees for the year 2022. Dar runs an academy in the Bandipora district and has helped many young stars to pursue their dreams in the field of martial arts.
9. Sankaranarayana Menon Chundayil
Sankaranarayana Menon aka Unni Gurukkal is a living legend in Kalariayattu. He has selflessly worked towards the development of martial art in his district. Even at the age of 93 years, Sankaranarayana runs a Kalari training centre in Thrissur.