The Ministry of Railway swept eight National sport awards announced by the Government of India for the year 2012. These include Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar 2012, 6 Arjuna Awards and 1 Dhronacharya Award.
The National Sports Awards are given every year to recognize and reward excellence in sports.
In a press release, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports said, "In a momentous recognition of the role and contribution of the Indian Railways in promoting sports in the country, Railway Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) of Ministry of Railways has bagged "Rastriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar", for the year 2012 which is a part of National Sports Awards."
The sportsperson working in the railways received the award under the category of 'Financial support for sport excellence'. The Indian Railways was also the winner of the first Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar in 2009 in the category: Employment of Sportspersons and Sports Welfare Measures.
Six railway sportspersons who are among the winners of Arjuna Awards 2012 include Ms Laishram Bombayla Devi (Eastern Railway-Archery), Ms Sudha Singh (Central Railway-Athletics), Mr Joydeep Karmakar (South Eastern Railway-Shooting), Mr Sandeep Sejwal (Western Railway-Swimming), Mr Narsingh Yadav (Western Railway-Wrestling), Mr Rajinder Kumar (Western Railway-Wrestling).
Also, athletics coach Virender Poonia from North Western Railway is among the winners of Dronacharya Awards for 2012.
Dronacharya Award is given to coaches for producing medal winners at prestigious international sports events. Arjuna Award is given for consistently outstanding performance for three consecutive years.
Meanwhile, Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar was instituted in 2009 in a bid to recognize the contribution made to sports development by entities other than sportspersons and coaches. The award is given in four categories, namely, Community Sports Identification and Nuturing of Building Young Talent, Financial Support for Sports Excellence, Establishment and Management of Sports Academies of Excellence and Employment of Sportspersons and Sports Welfare Measures.
Several Railways sports persons have been participating in prestigious national as well as international competitions like Asiad, Commonwealth Games, Olympics, and other international level sports events.
Sushil Kumar, who won a silver medal in freestyle wrestling at 2012 London Olympics for the country also works for the Indian Railway.
With this year's new awards, Indian Railway now have 19 Padamshrees, 3 Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardees, 146 Arjuna Awardees, 7 Dhyanchand Awardees, 6 Dronacharya awardees and 2 Rastriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar under its belt.
The awardees for the year 2012 will receive their awards from President Pranab Mukherjee at a special organized function at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi on August 29.