Star India bowler Mohammed Shami, archers Ojas Pravin Deotale, Sheetal Devi, and Aditi Gopichand Swami, and wrestler Antim Panghal are among the stars who received the Arjuna Award on Tuesday at Rashtrapati Bhawan by the President of India, Droupadi Murmu. The Arjuna Award, India’s second-highest athletic honour, is given for good performance over a period of the previous four years and for showing qualities of leadership, sportsmanship, and a sense of discipline.

The athletes have received the Arjuna Awards for their performances in 2023, including star speedster Shami, who ended as the leading wicket-taker in last year’s ICC Cricket World Cup in India with 24 scalps and broke several records.

The veteran pacer, a day prior to the ceremony, expressed happiness for the coveted accolade and said even after many years of hard work, people are not able to win this award.

“This award is a dream; life passes and people are not able to win this award. I am happy that I have been nominated for this award. It is like a dream for me to get this award because my whole life I have seen many people receiving this award,” Mohammed Shami had told ANI.

Para-archer Sheetal Devi Aditi Swami, steeplechaser Parul Chaudhary, shooter Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar and U20 World Champion wrestler Antim Panghal have received the award as well.

Sheetal won three medals in last year’s Para Asian Games, which included a women’s team silver, a mixed team gold, and gold in the women’s singles compound open event.

In the women’s singles event, Sheetal showcased a stupendous performance and defeated Singapore’s Alim Nur Syahidah.

It was a closely fought contest as Alim Nur, with her precision, took a point lead in the first three sets. She enjoyed a three-point lead after the conclusion of the first three sets, with the final two sets remaining.

Sheetal produced back-to-back perfect scores to clinch the game, with Alim Nur missing the mark on a couple of shots. In the end, she emerged victorious with an overall score of 144-142.

Indian archers bagged nine medals including five gold medals. World No. 9, Ojas Pravin won two gold medals while Jyothi Surekha won three medals overall.

Ojas faced Abhishek Verma in the final of the men’s compound archery and defeated Abhishek to bag the gold medal by a margin of 149-147.Ojas won second gold with Jyothi Surekha in the mixed team compound archery event after defeating South Korea’s Chaewon So and Jaehoon Joo.

List of Arjun Awardees: Mohammed Shami (cricket), Ajay Reddy (blind cricket) Ojas Pravin Deotale (archery), Aditi Gopichand Swami (archery), Sheetal Devi (para archery), Parul Chaudhary and Murali Sreeshankar (athletics), Mohd Hussamuddin (boxing), R Vaishali (chess), Divyakriti Singh and Anush Agarwalla (equestrian), Diksha Dagar (golf), Krishan Bahadur Pathak (hockey), Sushila Chanu (hockey), Pinky (lawn ball), Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar (shooting), Antim Panghal (wrestling), Ayhika Mukherjee (table tennis).

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