Indian national kabaddi team captain and vivo Pro Kabaddi star Deepak Niwas Hooda, who led India to a gold medal at the South Asian Games last year, has won the prestigious Arjuna Award.
Along with Hooda, Gujarat Fortunegiants coach Manpreet Singh was awarded the Dhyan Chand, a lifetime achievement honour, while Dabang Delhi K.C. coach Krishan Kumar Hooda bagged the Dronacharya Award, a recognition for coaches.
They were recommended by a 12-member selection committee of the sports ministry that included former Indian cricket player Virender Sehwag and sports commentator Manish Batavia among others. Indian sports minister Kiren Rijiju confirmed the recipients on Friday.
All-rounder Deepak Hooda has been an integral part of the Indian national kabaddi team since the 2016 South Asian Games where he made his national debut.
He also featured in the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup, which India won and recently took over the reins of the team from Ajay Thakur.
He had a highly successful first stint as captain at the 2019 South Asian Games where he led India’s undefeated campaign and ultimately took the team to a gold medal.
The distinguished list of recent Arjuna Award winners from kabaddi includes Rakesh Kumar, Anup Kumar, Manjeet Chhillar and Jasvir Singh.
Manpreet Singh is known to be one of best kabaddi strategists in the game in his role as coach for the Gujarat Fortunegiants. He has also been a vivo Pro Kabaddi winning captain with Patna Pirates.
To celebrate his success in the Indian kabaddi team, he has a wall dedicated to his various awards and trophies. He has been recognised for these with a Dhyan Chand Award and has become the first kabaddi player to be awarded it since Shamsher Singh in 2007.
Krishan Kumar Hooda, meanwhile, was also recognised in the lifetime category for his excellence in the field of coaching with the Dronacharya Award.
In his stint as the coach of the Indian national kabaddi team, Hooda has taken the side to victory in the South Asian Games as well as Asian Championships. E. Prasad Rao, Balwan Singh and J. Udaya Kumar have been previous recipients of this award.
The ceremony for the National Sports Awards will be held on August 29, which marks the National Sports Day in India.