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Will Always Give My Best Performance for India: Neeraj Chopra after Being Honoured with Param Vishisht Seva Medal and Padma Shri

Neeraj Chopra won India's 1st gold at Tokyo Olympic 2020 (AP)

Neeraj Chopra won India's 1st gold at Tokyo Olympic 2020 (AP)

Neeraj Chopra was conferred with the Padma Shri and the Param Vashistha Seva Medal on the eve of Republic Day.

Neeraj Chopra took to social media to thanks Indians for ‘their support and blessings’ after he was honoured with the Param Vishisht Seva Medal as well as the Padma Shri on Tuesday.

“I am extremely happy to hear the news of being conferred with Padma Shri Award and Param Vishisht Seva Medal,” Neeraj Chopra posted on Twitter.

“Many thanks to all of you for your support and blessings. My hard work and effort will always be to give the best performance for my country,,” he added in the post.

Neeraj Chopra created history last year by winning India’s first athletics gold medal in Olympics. He also became only the second Indian to win an individual Olympic gold after shooter Abhinav Bindra.

ALSO READ | Olympic Gold Medalist Neeraj Chopra Honoured with Padma Shri and Param Vashistha Seva Medal

Chopra, a Subedar with the 4 Rajputana Rifles in the Indian Army, had produced a second-round throw of 87.58m in the javelin throw finals at Tokyo Olympics in August 2021 to win the gold medal.

The Indian Army on Tuesday released a “list of Army personnel awarded for their gallantry and distinguished service on the occasion of Republic Day 2022”.

Along with Chopra, 18 other serving and retired personnel of the Indian Army have been awarded Param Vishisht Seva Medal. Chopra was conferred with the Arjuna Award in 2018 and Vishist Seva Medal (VSM) in 2020 for his excellence in sports.

Chopra was enrolled into the 4 Rajputana Rifles as a Naib Subedar on May 15, 2016. After joining the Army, he was selected for training at the ‘Mission Olympics Wing’ as well as at the Army Sports Institute, Pune.

The Mission Olympics Wing is an initiative by the Indian Army to identify and train promising sportspersons in 11 disciplines for various national and international competitions.

The other Padma Shri awardees include 20-year-old para shooter Avani Lekhara, para badminton player Pramod Bhagat and para javelin thrower Sumit Antil.

Also getting the honour was 93-year-old Kalaripayattu (indigenous martial art form) legend Sankaranarayana Menon Chundayil, former international martial arts champion Faisal Ali Dar, 67-year-old former Indian football team captain Brahmanand Sankhwalkar and 29-year-old women’s hockey player Vandana Kataria.

Sankhawalkar is one of the best goalkeepers India produced. He led the team from 1983 to 1986.

Women’s hockey player Kataria has played more than 200 games for India and record a hat-trick in the Tokyo Olympics where India made history by finishing fourth.

(With inputs from PTI)

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first published:January 25, 2022, 23:00 IST