It was a memorable day for four Indian athletes -- PV Sindhu (badminton), Sakshi Malik (wrestling), Dipa Karmakar (gymnastics) and Jitu Rai (shooting) -- as they were conferred with the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award on Monday. They received the award from President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi in the presence of a large audience.
Irrespective of the awards they are going to win in the near future, these four athletes will never forget this day as they have received the country's highest sporting honour. They will receive a cash prize of Rs.7.5 lakh, a certificate and a medallion, which will find a special place in their cabinet of glittering trophies.
All these athletes deserve the award. Sindhu and Sakshi brought ultimate glory to India in Rio Olympics, winning a silver and bronze respectively. Though the 2016 Olympics is considered to be a disappointment, with a haul of only two medals, India women played an important role in restoring pride for the nation.
Talking about women, Dipa could not help India win a medal, but she came extremely close. Dipa has been lauded as one of the success stories of the Rio Olympics as she became the first Indian to reach the finals of any gymnastic event, and lost the bronze by a whisker, which was heartbreaking for the Tripura girl.
Jitu, despite huge expectations, could not deliver in Rio, but the government has awarded him for his consistent performance in world events. He won gold in 2014 Commonwealth Games, 2014 World Cup and 2014 Asian Games. Such awards will only encourage these stars to deliver their best in the near future.
Here are some photos from the ceremony.