The Indian women’s cricket team captain Jhulan Goswami,former hockey captain Zafar Iqbal and archer Limba Ram were among the sportspersons chosen for the prestigious Padma Shri awards announced on the eve of the Republic Day.
Jhulan,who heads the ICC rankings for bowlers,has a Test bowling average of less than 20. In the 2006-07 season she guided the Indian team to its first Test series win in England.
The Arjuna awardee won the ICC Women’s Player of the Year 2007 and the MA Chidambaram trophy for Best Woman Cricketer in 2011.
Former hockey player Zafar Iqbal was a nippy winger whose deft stick work and speed made him a star during his playing days. Iqbal was a member of the 1980 team that won the last Olympic Gold Medal for India.
He captained the Indian squad in the Asian Games (1982) and the 1984 Summer Olympics. The Arjuna awardee served as national coach from early 1993 to October 1994.
Limba,who was coach of the Indian team during the 2010 Commonwealth Games,was an archer par excellence in his playing days.
In 1989 he reached the World Championship quarterfinal held in Switzerland and got the second rank in the Asian Cup in Individuals besides helping India get the team Gold.
In 1990,Limba helped India finish fourth in Beijing Asian Games. He represented India in three Olympics. In 1992 he equalled the world record of Takayoshi Matsushita in the Beijing Asian Championship in 30 meters event with score 357/360 to bag a gold medal. He was honoured with an Arjuna award in 1991.
The annual roll of honours for “distinguished service in any field” also included Ajeet Bajaj (Skiing),Devendra Jhajrija (Athletics- Paralympics) and Mohammed Arif (Badminton).
Sports commentator Ravi Chaturvedi was also among the list of awardees. No sportsperson was picked for the Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan award.
The awards are conferred by the President at a function held at the Rashtrapati Bhawan sometime around March/April. This year the President has approved 109 awards. These comprise five Padma Vibhushan,27 Padma Bhushan and 77 Padma Shri Awards.