New Delhi, Nov 28: Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Thursday conferred the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award to ace Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia at the Sports Authority of India (SAI), headquarters here.
Earlier, Bajrang was not present to receive the award at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Sports Day, as he was busy in preparations for the World Championship.
Bajrang, who has already won the Tokyo Olympic quota in the 65 kg freestyle wrestling category, was also awarded a cash prize of Rs 32 lakh 70 thousand.
After receiving the award, Bajrang said, 'Any player feels good after receiving the award and this is the biggest sports honor in the country. My focus is now on the Tokyo Olympics, and the responsibility has increased more after this honor."
'My preparations are going well. I have been training on mats for 10-12 days and have recovered from my injury. I will try my best in Tokyo Olympics to win the gold medal with everyone's blessings, ' he added.
The 25-year-old Bajrang had also received the Padma Shri award, earlier this year. He received the Arjuna Award in 2015.
Bajrang has been very consistent with his performance in recent times. After winning gold medals at the Commonwealth and Asian Games last year, he won gold at the Asian Championships and a bronze at the World Championships in 2019.
Apart from Bajrang, Kiren Rijiju also presented Arjuna Award to Md Anas and Tajinderpal Singh Toor while athletics coach Mohinder Singh Dhillon was awarded the Dronacharya Award. (UNI)