Kalam gives away Khel Ratna, Arjuna Awards | india | Hindustan Times
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Kalam gives away Khel Ratna, Arjuna Awards

President APJ Abdul Kalam on Tuesday conferred the sports awards at a glittering ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

india Updated: Aug 30, 2006 13:33 IST

President APJ Abdul Kalam on Tuesday conferred the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the country's highest sports award, on cueist Pankaj Advani and gave away Arjuna Awards to 15 others, including badminton star Aparna Popat and hockey wizard Viren Rasquinha, at a glittering ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The loudest cheers were reserved for the 21-year Bangalore-based Advani as he walked up to receive the award. He had won the World billiards amateur title at Malta last year.

Speaking to reporters after the function, Advani said he was overwhelmed on receiving the honour.

"When I received the news I was in America. I was jumping all over the room," a beaming Advani, who returned here Tuesday morning, said.

"First let me just enjoy this moment and then I will think what next," he added.

Commander Nandy Singh (hockey) was among the three people named for the Dhyan Chand Award for lifetime achievement, while Ismail Baig (rowing) was among the four winners of the Dronacharya Award for excellence in coaching.

The following is the list of awardees:

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna: Pankaj Advani (Billiards & Snooker).

Dhyan Chand Awards: Uday K Prabhu (Athletics), Commander (retd) Nandy Singh (Hockey), Harish Chandra M Birajdar (Wrestling).

Dronacharya Awards: Hony. Captain M Venu (Boxing), Balwan Singh (Kabaddi), Maha Singh Rao (Wrestling), Ismail Baig (Rowing).

Arjuna Awards: Tarundeep Rai (Archery), Dola Banerjee (Archery), Manjit Kaur (Athletics), Aparna Popat (Badminton), Anuja Prakash Thakur (Billiards & Snooker), Akhil Kumar (Boxing), Surya Shekhar Ganguly (Chess), Anju Jain (Cricket), Viren Rasquinha (Hockey), Ramesh Kumar (Kabaddi), Gagan Narang (Shooting), Shikha Tandon (Swimming), Soumyadeep Roy (Table Tennis), Sushil Kumar (Wrestling), Rajinder Singh Rahelu (Physically Handicapped).

The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna comprises Rs.500,000 in cash, a scroll of honour and a medal.

The Dhyanchand and Dronacharya Awards comprise Rs.300,000 in cash, a plaque and a scroll of honour.

The Arjuna Award carries Rs.300,000 in cash, a statute and a scroll of honour.

Raj Singh Dungarpur, a former president of the Indian cricket board, headed the selection committee for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the Dhyanchand Awards and the Arjuna Awards.

Veteran sports administrator KP Singh Deo headed the selection committee for the Dronacharya Awards.