Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said he would recommend the name of Hockey legend and 3-time Olympics gold champion Balbir Singh Senior for Bharat Ratna.
Punjab CM visited hockey legend Balbir Singh Sr at PGI, Chandigarh, to present to the three-time Olympic gold champion the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award for excellence in sports.
The Chief Minister met the ailing former player at PGI to present to him the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award, after felicitating around 100 other players, including veterans, with the award at an event here. The award has been reinstituted after nearly a decade’s gap and Captain Amarinder said it would be institutionalized as annual event.
At the awards ceremony, the Chief Minister said that players like the great Hockey Olympian should be aptly honoured in recognition of their superlative contribution to sports.
Sharing his nostalgic moments with the audience, the Chief Minister expressed pleasure to be in the company of sports veterans like great Milkha Singh, former Cricket skipper Bishan Singh Bedi, former World Cup Hockey Captain Ajit Pal Singh, who were the centre of admiration for the entire nation.
The award would honour these veterans and inspire a whole new generation of sportspersons to excel in their respective fields, said the chief minister. The award, which was instituted way back in 1978, carries a cash prize of Rs.2 lakhs, trophy of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Ji in armour atop a steed, a Blazer and a Scroll.
Earlier, in his welcome address Sports Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi while lauding Captain Amarinder Singh's passion for sports, said the chief minister’s visionary and dynamic approach had led the Government to come out with a comprehensive Sports Policy encompassing all aspects of promoting sporting infrastructure and the well-being of the state’s sporting icons.
He urged all the senior sportspersons and Punjabis settled abroad to come forward and supplement the efforts of the state government in identifying and nurturing young sporting talent. The untapped sporting potential needs proper direction and guidance, he said further adding that state would ensure best of facilities for all sportspersons.
Sodhi also announced that veteran sportspersons and international medallists would continue to get sports pension in addition to the pension they had already been drawing from their respective departments where they served.
The function was attended by Cabinet Minister Sadhu Singh Dharmsot, Senior Advisor to CM Lt. General (Retd) TS Shergill, MLA Pargat Singh, ACS Sports Sanjay Kumar and Director Sports Rahul Gupta and veteran Hindi film actor Ranjeet.
List of 101 players bestowed with Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award:
Veteran Sports Legends (Total 20) Triple Olympic Gold Winner Hockey player Balbir Singh Senior, Commonwealth and Asian Games Champion Milkha Singh, Best Athlete of Asia Gurbachan Singh Randhawa, India’s lone World Cup Hockey Captain Ajit Pal Singh, Spin Bowler Bishan Singh Bedi, and First Gold Medal winning Indian Woman athlete at Asian Games Kamaljeet Kaur Sandhu. Apart from these, Brigadier Harcharan Singh, Colonel Balbir Singh, Baldev Singh, Harmik Singh, Hardeep Singh, Jagjeet Singh, Gulshan Rai, Jaipal Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Balwinder Singh Fidda, Paramjit Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Mohinder Singh Gill and Surjit Singh (Posthumously). These have earlier been bestowed with Padma Shri or Arjuna Award by the Union Government.
81 other players from Punjab who have rendered exceptional performances at the National and International in sporting arena from the year 2011-2018. These also comprise of those players who have won Arjuna Award during these years. The players include 15 for achievements in 2011 and these are- Rajpal Singh, Rajinder Singh Rahelu, Heena Sidhu, Mandeep Sidhu, Mandeep Kaur, Gagandeep Kaur, Dilawar Singh, Kuljit Singh, Jagdeep Singh, Komalpreet Shukla, Ravipal, Ranjit Kaur, Mankiran Kaur, Gurchand Singh, Hardeep Singh and Manjit Singh, 14 players for achievements in 2012-Navpreet Kaur, Sunita Rani, Gurinder Singh, Amrit Singh, Shammipreet Kaur, Kiranjit Kaur, Rajwant Kaur, Sarwanjit Singh, Sahil Pathania, Jashandeep Singh, Lakhbir Kaur, Navjot Kaur, Ranjit Singh & Mahabir Singh, 5 players for achievements in 2013- Mandeep Kaur, Amandeep Kaur, Sapna Dutta, Samit Singh and Triptpal Singh, 5 players for achievements in 2014-Davinder Singh, Gurbaaz Singh, Jasmine, Mandeep Singh and Baljit Singh.
Similarly, 10 players got the award for achievements during the year 2015- Arpinder Singh, Trisha Deb, Shahbaz Singh Bhangoo, Dharamvir Singh, Aman Kumar, Rubi Tomar, Shiv Kumar, Vikas Thakur, Davinder Singh and Amandeep Sharma, 15 players for achievements during the year 2016- Swaran Singh Virk, Khushbir Kaur, Kanwalpreet Singh, Amjot Singh, Rekha Rani, Neelam Rani, Prabhjot Kaur Bajwa, Maninder Kaur, Gurwinder Singh, Rajwinder Kaur, Gurinder Singh, Malaika Goyal, Gurpreet Singh, Jasvir Kaur and Parul Gupta, 7 players for achievements during 2017-Raj Rani, Amandeep Kaur (Handball), Amandeep kaur (Hockey), Varinder Kumar, Ajitesh Kaushal, Davinder Singh and Sanjeev Kumar and 10 players for achievements in 2018-Manpreet Singh, Navjit Kaur Dhillon, Ramandeep Kaur, Gurjit Kaur, Randeep Kaur, Veerpal Kaur, Navneet Kaur, Sahil Chopra, Harshdeep Kaur and Veena Arora.
Galaxy of veteran Sports stars present on the occasion:
Kaur Singh, Kartar Singh, Prem Chand Degra, Bahadur Singh (All Padma Shri Awardees), Gurbax Singh Sandhu, Rajinder Singh Senior (Dronacharya Awardee), Rajbeer Kaur Rai, Manjit Kaur, Gurdev Singh Gill, Sajjan Singh Cheema (All Arjuna Awardees), and Gurmail Singh (Olympic Gold Medallist).
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