India's table tennis sensation Manika Batra expressed her joy over being one of the receipients of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award. Manika, who is the highest-ranked female player in the country, is one of the three women to receive the award this year.
Manika said it was an honour for her to receive the award and thanked everyone in her life for her achievement. "It's an honour for me to be named as one of the recipients of this year's prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award.
"First of all I would like to thank God, the sports ministry, the Sports Authority of India, Indian Oil Corporation, my sponsors, IOS, Table Tennis Federation of India, India khelega - My Training centre in Pune," Manika said in a statement.
She further called the award an "added responsibility" and said she wanted to achieve much more for the country. "This award is an added responsibility for me to continue performing well and I am looking forward to bring more laurels to the country."
Manika rose to instant fame as she came the first Indian women to win a women's singles gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. She also held the women's team win their first-ever gold at the CWG. She is currently ranked 63 in the world but has gone the highest at 46, in March 2019.
Apart from the five Khel Ratna awardees, Arjuna award is going to a total of 27 sportspersons. The Arjuna awardees are: Atanu Das, Dutee Chand, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty, Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, Manish Kaushik, Lovlina Borgohain, Ishant Sharma, Deepti Sharma, Sawant Ajay Anant, Sandesh Jhingan, Aditi Ashok, Akashdeep Singh, Deepika, Deepak, Kale Sarika Sudhakar, Dattu Baban Bhokanal, Manu Bhaker, Saurabh Chaudhary, Madhurika Patkar, Divij Sharan, Shiva Keshavan, Divya Kakran, Rahul Aware, Suyash Narayan Jadhav, Sandeep, Manish Narwal.