Indian Paralympic javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia received his Padma Bhushan award, the 3rd-highest civilian award in India, from President Ram Nath Kovind conferred at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Monday.
Devendra Jhajharia is a two-time Paralympics gold medallist at Athens 2004 and Rio 2016 and clinched a silver medal at Tokyo 2020.
In fact, he became the first Paralympian to be honoured with Padma Shri back in 2012.
What he has achieved a first was not lost on Jhajharia, who took part in F46 events at the Paralympics.
“This is the first time a para athlete has got the Padma Bhushan, and I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for this. Now I will have more responsibility towards the country, to win more medals for India," Jhajharia said.
“To the youth, I will say work hard. One minute of work will not get you anything. I have worked hard for the past 20 years, 2002 was the first time I won a gold medal," he added.
आज महामहिम राष्ट्रपति जी से पद्म भूषण सम्मान मिलना मेरे लिए गोरव का पल रहा है|मैं यह पुरस्कार अपने साथी पैरा-एथलीटों को चुनौतियों के बावजूद प्रयास करने के लिए समर्पित करता हूं।पैरालम्पिक खेलों का समर्थन करने के लिए प्रधानमंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी जी का बहुत बहुत धन्यवाद@narendramodi pic.twitter.com/7UqHv9UYSQ— Devendra Jhajharia (@DevJhajharia) March 21, 2022
The Padma awards are conferred in three categories — Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri. These awards are given in various disciplines and fields such as art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc.
‘Padma Vibhushan’ is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service; ‘Padma Bhushan’ for distinguished service of high order and ‘Padma Shri’ for distinguished service in any field. The awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year.
These awards are conferred by the President of India at ceremonial functions which are held at Rashtrapati Bhavan usually around March/ April every year. This year the President has approved conferment of 128 Padma Awards including 2 duo case (in a duo case, the Award is counted as one) as per list below. The list comprises 4 Padma Vibhushan, 17 Padma Bhushan and 107 Padma Shri Awards. 34 of the awardees are women and the list also includes 10 persons from the category of Foreigners/NRI/PIO/OCI and 13 Posthumous awardees.
Tokyo Paralympics double medallist shooter Avani Lekhara received the Padma Shri for her excellent showing last year.
Lekhara won a gold medal in the 10m air rifle standing event and a bronze in the 50m rifle 3 positions event.
Alongside Jhajharia and Lekhara, gold medal-winning javelin thrower Sumit Anil, gold medallist in badminton Pramod Bhagat were the other Paralympic stars to be conferred with the honour.
Lekhara tweeted, “Honoured and grateful to be awarded the Padma Shri. This award is a testament to not only my efforts, but the sacrifices of my family and the support of everyone involved in my career helping me achieve all I have.
“I look forward to representing the country with the same passion!"
(With inputs from PTI)
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