The Badminton Association of India (BAI) on Sunday congratulated the six shuttlers -former and current - who will be honoured with various awards during a virtual ceremony on the National Sports Day on August 29. For the first time, six people are being awarded in badminton. The men's doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy has been picked for the Arjuna award, while the prestigious Dhyanchand Award will be conferred on former shuttlers Pradeep Gandhe, Trupti Murgunde and Satyaprakash Tiwari (para-badminton) for their contribution to the sport.
Para-badminton team's head coach Gaurav Khanna, under whom the Indian team has produced many glorious moments, including winning gold medals at the World Championship, has been chosen for the Dronacharya Award (regular category). "On behalf of the Badminton Association of India (BAI) and President Himanta Biswa Sarma, I would like to congratulate all three winners of Dhyanchand Award as well as the other recipients including coach Khanna who took para team to new heights," BAI secretary Ajay Singhania said in a release.
The 23-year-old Chirag from Mumbai and the Amalapuram-based Satwik had a successful 2019, when the duo won a maiden Super 500 title at Thailand Open and then reached the finals of the French Open Super 750 event. Their consistent show was rewarded with a world No. 10 spot. "The youngsters always give hope of a brighter future. It's great to see Chirag and Satwik performing so well and consistently on the international circuit. They deserve such rewards for their performances. I'm sure Indian shuttlers will continue to bring laurels for the country," Singhania said.
A contemporary of the likes of Prakash Padukone and Syed Modi, Gandhe, who won a doubles bronze at the 1982 Asian Games, was recognised for his contribution as a player, coach and BAI official. While two-time South Asian gold medallist Murgunde was known for her tactical brilliance on the court, Tiwari has nine international medals to his name in recognised para events. "Receiving Dhyanchand Award for the first time is a special moment for the Indian badminton. Such recognitions always encourage us to work harder," Singhania said.