Visually impaired cricketer and captain of Indian Men’s Cricket Team for the Blind Illuri Ajay Kumar Reddy will be conferred with Prestigious Arjuna Award from the President of India at a specially organized function at Rashtrapati Bhavan on January 9, 2024.
The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports on Wednesday announced the National Sports Awards 2023. Illuri Ajay Kumar Reddy (Blind Cricket) is among the 26 sportspersons selected for Arjuna Awards for outstanding performance in Sports and Games 2023.
"Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports announced the National Sports Awards 2023 today. The awardees will receive their awards from the President of India at a specially organized function at Rashtrapati Bhavan on 09th January, 2024 (Tuesday) at 1100 hours," the Sports Ministry said in an official statement.
Illuri Ajay Reddy, who is currently working in SBI regional office in Bangalore described it as the "best moment" of his life.
"It is the best moment of my life. Cricket has given me this opportunity and I feel blessed right now. I want to dedicate the Arjuna Award to my parents for their sacrifices, support and to all my fellow teammates, who played under the guidance of Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI). I feel this is the best recognition which will help Cricket for the Blind to be promoted," Ajay Reddy said in a statement.
The chairman of the Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) Dr Mahantesh G Kivadasannavar said that the recognition will help in the promotion of visually impaired cricket in India.
"This is the best day for Cricket for the Blind in India. After many years, we are being recognised for this award. This award not only recognises Ajay Reddy but also the entire visually impaired community. This will go on a long way to promote cricket for blind across the country and more and more people will get inspired to take up the cricket as the sport," Dr Mahantesh G Kivadasannavar said.
Illuri Ajay Kumar Reddy is a B2 category player, who is representing India since 2010. He has been part of winning two ODI World Cups, 3 T20 world cups, 1 Asia Cup. He is the captain of the Indian cricket team for the blind since 2016. Under his captaincy Team India has won 1 ODI world cup, 2 T20 world cups, 1 Asia Cup and the Silver Medal in IBSA World Games and many bilateral and triangular Series.
National Sports Awards are given every year to recognize and reward excellence in sports. Arjuna Award for outstanding performance in Sports and Games is given for good performance over a period of the previous four years and for showing qualities of leadership, sportsmanship and a sense of discipline.
Cricket Association for the Blind in India(CABI) acknowledges the great support received from the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports through this award. The continuous support and patronage received from the esteemed ministry has helped CABI to achieve this milestone.