Images: President confers National sports awards
President of India Mrs Pratibha Patil presented the National sports awards at a simple ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Sunday.
Badminton ace Saina Nehwal was conferred the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the country's highest sports accolade. The Hyderabadi shuttler, however, could not collect the award -- which comprises a medal, citation and cash prize of Rs 7.5 lakh -- personally, as she is yet to return from Paris, where she lost in the quarter-finals of the World Championships. to receive the award.
The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna was constituted in 1991 by former prime minister PV Narasimha Rao's government.
Parimarjan Negi was conferred the Arjuna award. He became a Grandmaster at the tender age of 13, the second youngest ever in the history of the game. He acquired the International Master's norm at the age of 12 and is the youngest Indian Grandmaster.
"He has won many gold,silver and bronze medals. In recognition of his outstanding achievements in the field of chess, the Arjuna award for the year 2010 is conferred upon Parimarjan Negi," read the citation for the award.
Photographs: Chaman Gautam
Image: Parimarjan Negi receiving the Arjuna award from President Pratibha Patil on Sunday
'I'm yet to name my son Arjun'
Deepak Mondal flew in with his wife and his son to receive Arjuna.
"Though people have asked me to name my son Arjun, I have not yet taken a decision," he said.
"Indian football is now looking up. The best thing that happened was appointment of a foreign coach," he added.
Mondal was among 14 sportspersons who received the Arjuna, and five coaches who were conferred the Dronacharya award.
Image: Deepak Mandal receiving the Arjuna Award from the President
Jhulan was the lone cricketer to win
Jhulan Goswami, captain of the women's team, was the lone cricketer to receive the Arjuna.
Surprisingly, no male player got the honour.
Boxer Dinesh Kumar, swimmer Rehan Poncha and Olympian wrestler Rajiv Tomar also received the Arjuna.
Women's hockey player Jasjeet Kaur Handa also missed the ceremony, as she is in Argentina for the FIH World Cup.
Image: Jhulan Goswami receives the award from Pratibha Patil
'People say I am an expert in sky diving'
Wing Commander Jai Kishen was bestowed the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure award for his extraordinary skills in paragliding and sky diving.
Jai Kishen led two of his most popular programmes Akash Ganga and Air Devils.
"People say that I am an expert in sky diving. Yes, I have encouraged others also to join me in my unique venture," the proud Air Force officer told rediff.com.
The Wing Commander, who has used various types of parachutes and aircraft from different altitudes, at different locations, has interestingly never met with an accident.
"I am glad that I undertook a skydiving expedition from an altitude of 27,500 feet and managed to make a landing at an altitude of 17,942 feet. Both are records in their own respects," he added.
Image: Wing Commander Jai Kishan receiving the Tenzing Norgay adventure award from the president
Bounthiyal was also a winner
Head constable Kamlesh Kumar Bounthiyal smartly walked up to the President to receive the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure award (land).
The Dronacharya award, the top recognition for coaches in the country, was conferred on five, including L Ibomcha Singh (boxing), Ajay Kumar Bansal (hockey), AK Kutty (athletics), Captain Chandrup (wrestling) and Subhash B Aggarwal (billiards and snooker).
The Arjuna and Dronacharya awardees got a statuette, citation and cash prize of Rs 5 lakh each.
The Dhyan Chand award, given for life-time contribution to sports development, was conferred on Satish Pillai (athletics), Kuldeep Singh (wrestling) and Anita Chanu (weightlifting).
Image: Kamlesh Bounthiyal receives the award from Pratibha Patil