New Delhi — Mountaineer Bachendri Pal was conferred with the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award, while Gautam Gambhir, Bajrang Punia and Sunil Chhetri, among others, received the Padma Shri.
The government announced names of the Padma awardees on the eve of the 70th Republic Day.
Pal, who became the first Indian woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1984, was bestowed with the honour for “distinguished service of a high order”.
Besides World Cup-winning cricketer Gambhir, footballer Chhetri and World Championship silver medallist wrestler Bajrang, other sportspersons to receive the Padma Shri – the fourth highest civilian honour – this year include Dronavalli Harika (chess), Sharath Kamal (table tennis), Bombayla Devi Laishram (archery), Ajay Thakur (kabaddi) and Prashanti Singh (basketball).
Gambhir, 37, played match-winning knocks in the finals of India’s World T20 win in 2007 and the 2011 World Cup title triumph in 2011.
The 34-year-old Chhetri has led the Indian football team with distinction for over a decade now, and is the all-time leading scorer in the country.
Bajrang is a World Championship silver and bronze medallist besides winning gold at the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games in 2018.