The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports on Tuesday announced three names from the Kabaddi fraternity as the winners of the prestigious National Sports Awards 2021. Indian Kabaddi and vivo Pro Kabaddi star all-rounder Sandeep Narwal, who was part of the Kabaddi World Cup-winning Indian team, has won the prestigious Arjuna award. Former Puneri Paltan coach Ashan Kumar has claimed the Dronacharya award along with the 2006 Asian Games gold medalist and 2007 Kabaddi World Cup winner, Vikash Kumar, who became the third person from the sport to bag the Dhyan Chand award.
The honourable President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, will hand over these awards to the respective athletes on 13th November 2021 in a specially organised function at the Darbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. These awards are bestowed upon athletes who have excelled in their respective sporting fields as a recognition of their remarkable achievements.
Sandeep Narwal is the 37th Kabaddi player to receive the prestigious Arjuna award. The Haryana-based all-rounder has been a vital cog in the Indian national Kabaddi team ever since making his debut at the 2016 Asian Beach Games, where the team won the silver medal. The newest addition to the Dabang Delhi K.C. line-up, he also has an illustrious career in the vivo Pro Kabaddi League as one of the best in the business.
"I can't put into words how delighted I am to win the Arjuna award. This is the biggest reward for my dedication and commitment over all these years," Sandeep Narwal told prokabaddi.com.
Narwal has joined an elite list of exceptional kabaddi players who have won the Arjuna Award, including Anup Kumar, Rakesh Kumar, Ajay Thakur and more.
"I will work hard to maintain the reputation of being an Arjuna awardee. Many legends have won this award in the past and it certainly does add more responsibility to my shoulders," he said.
Sandeep also represented the country in the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup, where India beat Iran to lift the coveted trophy after nine long years. He also won gold medals at the 2017 Asian Kabaddi Championship and Dubai Kabaddi Masters in 2018. The 28-year-old was a part of the national side that claimed bronze at the 2018 Asian Games as well.
Staking his claim on the Dronacharya award is Arjuna awardee, Ashan Kumar, who has been recognised in the lifetime category for his contributions in the field of coaching. Kumar was a part of the gold-winning Indian national team at the 1990 Asian Games.
Ashan Kumar, a coach at Sports Authority of India in Ahmedabad, has taken the national team to multiple international gold medals in South Asian Games and Asian Championships. He played an integral role in the 2018 Asian Games for South Korea when he led the team towards a silver medal for the first time in Asian Games history.
Vikash Kumar, meanwhile, became the third-only Kabaddi player to claim the Dhyan Chand award joining the likes of Manpreet Singh (2020) and Shamsher Singh (2007). After representing India at multiple events, Vikash was part of the coaching management team that led Dabang Delhi K.C. to their first-ever PKL final back in Season 7.
The ceremony for the National Sports Awards usually takes place on August 29th. However, it was postponed because of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and Paralympics schedules.
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