'To the youth, I will say work hard. One minute of work will not get you anything. I have worked hard for the past 20 years, 2002 was the first time I won a gold medal.'
Indian Paralympic javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia on Monday received his Padma Bhushan award in the field of Sports.
Ace Indian javelin thrower Jhajharia is a two-time Paralympics gold medallist (Athens 2004, Rio 2016) and one-time silver medallist (Tokyo 2020). In 2012 he was the first Paralympian to be honoured with Padma Shri.
The javelin thrower competes in the F46 events in the Paralympics and was among the four Paralympic medallists to be conferred with the Padma awards this year.
That he has achieved a first was not lost on Jhajharia.
"This is the first time a para-athlete has got the Padma Bhushan, and I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for this. Now I will have more responsibility towards the country, to win more medals for India," Jhajharia said.
"To the youth, I will say work hard. One minute of work will not get you anything. I have worked hard for the past 20 years, 2002 was the first time I won a gold medal," he added.
Tokyo Paralympics double medallist shooter Avani Lekhara received the Padma Shri for her excellent showing last year.
Lekhara won a gold medal in the 10m air rifle standing event and a bronze in the 50m rifle 3 positions event.
Alongside Jhajharia and Lekhara, gold medal-winning javelin thrower Sumit Anil, gold medallist in badminton Pramod Bhagat were the other Paralympic stars to be conferred with the honour.
Among others who were bestowed the prestigious India women's hockey team star Vandana Katariya on Monday received the Padma Shri.
The 29-year-old is among nine athletes and the lone hockey player this year who has been named for the award. She also became the first Indian women's player to score a hat-trick of goals in an Olympic Games. She was part of India's historic fourth-place finish at the Tokyo Olympics and has also been part of India's Gold medal win at the Asian Champions Trophy in 2016, Asia Cup in 2017, Asian Games Bronze in 2014, and Silver in 2018 among several other achievements.
The double Olympian started her career playing for the Railway Sports Promotion Board and made it to the Indian Junior Women's team in 2006.
Another Padma Shri awardee was former Indian footballer Brahmanand Shankhwalkar.
The Goan custodian was a former captain of the Indian Football Team who represented the country and several clubs with distinctions as goalkeeper.
On Monday, President Ram Nath Kovind conferred the Padma awards.
The Padma awards are conferred in three categories -- Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Shri. These awards are given in various disciplines and fields such as art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc.
Padma Vibhushan is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service; Padma Bhushan for distinguished service of high order and Padma Shri for distinguished service in any field. The awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year.
These awards are conferred by the President of India at ceremonial functions which are held at Rashtrapati Bhavan usually around March/ April every year. This year the President has approved conferment of 128 Padma Awards including 2 duo case (in a duo case, the Award is counted as one) as per list below. The list comprises 4 Padma Vibhushan, 17 Padma Bhushan and 107 Padma Shri Awards. 34 of the awardees are women and the list also includes 10 persons from the category of Foreigners/NRI/PIO/OCI and 13 Posthumous awardees.