Ramakanta Biswas

World number one para shuttler and Paralympics gold medallist Pramod Bhagat said he had been nurturing the dreams of being conferred with Khel Ratna award it has been fulfilled now. 

The ace para shuttler from Odisha, who became the first Indian to win a gold medal in badminton, is among the 12 sportspersons selected for the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna, the highest sporting honour of the country. 

Speaking to OTV, Bhagat, who has already been honoured with Arjuna Award said, “After receiving the Arjuna Award, I had aimed at winning gold in the Olympics and the Khel Ratna Award. Both the dreams have come true now.”

“I would like to thank the people of Odisha, my parents, villagers and my coaches for my success,” an elated Bhagat said.    

Bhagat said he won't rest on his past laurels and work hard to bring more medals for the country. “I will try to bring medal to the State from the upcoming French Paralympics in 2024,” he said.
The athlete said the Khel Ratna Award will encourage many para-athletes to bring more laurels to the country as well as the State.   

“Now I am eagerly waiting for November 13, when I will receive the award and set my foot on Odisha land with the award to a rousing welcome,” he added.  

Other sportspersons, who will be honoured with the Khel Ratna Award are Neeraj Chopra, Ravi Kumar Dahiya, Lovlina Borgohain and PR Sreejesh, Avani Lekhara, Sumit Antil, Krishna Nagar, Manish Narwal, Mithali Raj, Sunil Chhetri and Manprit Singh.

Similarly, two hockey stars from Odisha- Birendra Lakra and Amit Rohidas will jointly receive Arjuna Award. 

"The awardees will receive their awards from the President of India at a specially organised function at the Darbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan on 13th November 2021 (Saturday) at 1630 hrs," the sports ministry announced.