In an unprecedented and interesting move, the sports ministry of India has recommended the names of nine women athletes for the prestigious Padma awards.
Indian boxer MC Mary Kom, badminton player PV Sindhu, wrestler Vinesh Phogat, cricketer Harmanpreet Kaur, table tennis player Manika Batra, hockey player Rani Rampal, shooter Suma Shirur and mountaineers Tashi Malik and Nungshi Malik are on the list.
Mary Kom, who was already awarded the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan in 2006 and 2013, has been recommended for the Padma Vibhushan award. With this, she will become the first woman athlete to receive the second-highest Indian civilian honour.
Only three sportspersons have been honoured with the Padma Vibhushan - Sachin Tendulkar, Sir Edmund Hillary and Vishwanathan Anand.
Shuttler PV Sindhu has been recommended for the Padma Bhusan award while the other seven athletes received the ministry's nomination for Padma Shri.
Why did the sports ministry recommend these nine names for the honours?
The Indian female boxer, who hails from Manipur, is the only women to have won the World Amateur Boxing title for six times. Magnificent Mary has also completed the 2012 London Olympics in the flyweight (51kg) category, where she won a bronze medal.
She is the first Indian boxer to have won a gold in both the 2014 Asian Games and also in the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The female boxer is currently preparing for the 2020 Rio Olympics, from where she hopes to bring more glory for the nation.
The reigning world champion Indian shuttler missed out on the Padma Bhusan award in 2017. She became the first Indian to win a gold medal at the BWF World Championships.
The star badminton player, who won her first superseries title in 2016, is also the second woman player after Chinese shuttler Zhang Ning to win five or more medals at the world championships.
She represented India at the 2016 Rio Olympics and became the first female Indian to win a silver medal in Olympics. The 24-year-old athlete has also won silvers at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games in 2018.
The Indian wrestler, who is the niece of Mahavir Singh Phogat and the cousins of Commonwealth Games medal-winning wrestlers Geeta Phogat and Babita Kumari, is the first woman wrestler to win gold in both the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.
She has two Commonwealth Games gold to her name, which the wrestler won in 2014 and 2018. She has also won a bronze at the 2014 Asian Games besides winning the gold in 2018. The 25-year-old wrestler is the first Indian athlete to be nominated for the Laureus World Sports Awards.
With a score of 103 runs off 51 against New Zealand, the 30--year-old all-rounder became the first woman cricketer from India to score a century in the 2018 ICC Women's World Twenty20.
The Indian T20 captain was also the leading scorer for the country in the tournament. She scored an explosive 171 off 115 balls in the World Cup semi-final in 2017 against Australia and holds the record of the highest individual score in the knock-out stage of Women's World Cup. She was also awarded the Arjuna Award in 2017.
The 24-year-old is the highest-ranked table tennis player in India. She won four out of four medals in the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Batra led the Indian team to defeat Singapore in the Games for the first time in history. She is also the only Indian to receive "The Breakthrough Star Award" by ITTF.
The 24-year-old hockey player is considered as one of the best female strikers in the world at the moment. She scored seven goals at the 2010 Women's Hockey World Cup and was awarded the best young player award of the tournament.
She was the first Indian to be nominated for FIH Women's Young Player of the Year Award, 2010, and also featured in the All-Stars team of the Asian Hockey Federation in 2010. Rampal led India in the 2018 Asian Games, where the team won the silver medal.
The 45-year-old former Indian shooter is a joint world record holder in the 10-metre air rifle category. She scored the maximum of 400 points in the qualification round of the 2004 Asian Shooting Championship and won the gold medal in the event.
She has won a silver and a bronze in the 2002 and 2006 Asian Games, respectively. In the 2002 Commonwealth Games, Shirur won the gold medal. She was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2003.
Tashi and Nungshi Malik
With their Mount Everest feat in 2013, the twin sisters - who hail from Haryana - became the first twins in the world to make the arduous climb. They are also the first twin sisters to complete the Seven Summits. For both the occasions, they featured in the Guinness World Records.
The sisters also completed the Explorers Grand Slam and became the first Indian and South Asian women to achieve such a triumph.