Indian skipper Virat Kohli is the latest recipient of the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian award in India, which was bestowed upon him by President Pranab Mukherjee.
Other than Virat, hockey captain PR Sreejesh, wrestler Sakshi Malik, gymnast Dipa Karmakar, Paralympians Mariyappan Thangavelu and Deepa Malik, discus thrower Vikas Gowda, and blind cricket team captain Shekhar Naik were the other sporting icons to receive the award.
Virat has had a splendid year in cricket with his unprecedented success as the Indian team captain. Taking over the reins from Mahendra Singh Dhoni, he has led the Indian team to the No.1 spot in Test rankings.
According to a report by the Indian Express, these eight sportspersons were among the 89 Padma Awardees that the government announced on the eve of Republic day.
Political stalwarts Sharad Pawar, Murli Manohar Joshi, late Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma, and Bollywood singer Anuradha Paudwal were among the 89. Joshi, Pawar, and former ISRO Chairman Prof. Udipi Ramachandra Rao were conferred the Padma Vibhushan, the country's second-highest civilian award. Yoga guru Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati, Thai princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, and the father of laparoscopic surgery in India Tehemton Erach Udwadia were conferred the Padma Bhushan.
According to a report by NDTV, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, senior BJP leader LK Advani, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, several Union ministers, and top bureaucrats attended the event.
Along with Virat, former Lok Sabha Secretary General TK Vishwanathan, former Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Anant Agarwal, endocrinologist MM Godbole, French historian Michel Danino, and Vice-President of Kanyakumari's Vivekananda Rock Memorial Nivedita Raghunath Bhide were conferred with the Padma Shri. Folk singer Basanti Bisht, entrepreneur Mohan Reddy Venkat Rama Bodanapu, Madhubani artist Baoa Devi, folk artist Sukri Bommu Gouda, West Bengal's 'bike ambulance dada' Karimul Hak, Narendra Kohli, para-athlete Deepa Malik, theatre artist Wareppa Naba, Kathakali exponent Chemancheri Kunhairaman Nair, Malayalam poet Akkitham Achyuthan Nambudiri, tribal artist Mukund Nayak, environmentalist Balbir Singh Seechewal, and well-known gynaecologist Bhakti Yadav were also conferred with the Padma Shri award.