Rohan Bopanna, Joshna Chinappa among sports icons nominated for Padma Shri Award
Joining them are former archer turned coach Purnima Mahato, former hockey player Harbinder Singh, para badminton coach Gaurav Khanna, para swimmer Satendra Singh Lohia, and Mallakhamb athlete Uday Deshpande.
Tennis luminary Rohan Bopanna, set to become the oldest world number one, squash star Joshna Chinappa, and former archer turned coach Purnima Mahato have been shortlisted for the prestigious Padma Shri award in 2024. Bopanna's imminent ascent to the pinnacle of tennis adds an extra layer of significance to this honor, marking him as the oldest athlete poised to claim the No. 1 spot in the world doubles rankings.
The Padma Shri, India's fourth-highest civilian honor, stands as a testament to the remarkable achievements and dedication of these athletes. It follows closely behind the Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, and Padma Bhushan.
Bopanna's stellar performance in the tennis circuit last year set the stage for his nomination. At 43, he continues to showcase exceptional form, reaching the final of the 2024 Australian Open men’s doubles alongside partner Matthew Ebden. Notably, Bopanna secured his place in Indian sports history in 2017 by becoming the fourth Indian to clinch a Grand Slam title, winning the mixed doubles at the French Open.
Joshna Chinappa, a trailblazer in Indian squash, boasts an impressive track record, including being crowned the women’s doubles world champion in 2022. At 37, she holds multiple medals from the Asian Games, two Commonwealth Games medals, and four World Championships doubles medals.
Purnima Mahato, a former national champion turned coach, has left an indelible mark on Indian archery. Widely recognized for coaching Deepika Kumari, one of India’s best archers, Mahato's contributions have earned her the esteemed Dronacharya Award.
Other esteemed athletes shortlisted for the Padma Shri include former hockey player Harbinder Singh, para badminton coach Gaurav Khanna, para swimmer Satendra Singh Lohia, and Mallakhamb athlete Uday Deshpande.
The Padma awards, to be conferred around March or April by the President of India, will honor a total of 110 individuals with the Padma Shri, 17 with Padma Bhushan, and five with Padma Vibhushan.