Indian captain Virat Kohli has been awarded with the highest sporting honor of India – Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award. The ceremony was held today at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi where the President of India – Shri Ramnath Kovind honored him with the award. Virat was accompanied by his wife Anushka Sharma, mother Saroj Kohli and elder brother Vikas at the ceremony.
The 29-year-old becomes the first cricketer to be conferred the award since 2007. India’s former captain MS Dhoni was the last cricketer to receive the prestigious award. Virat is now the 3rd cricketer to receive the Khel Ratna as apart from him and Dhoni, the legendary Sachin Tendulkar had received that in 1998.
In the ceremony, along with Virat, Indian wrestler Mirabai Chanu was also honored with the Khel Ratna. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had been nominating Virat for the award since 2016 and finally, the cricketer became the awardee. In 2016, wrestler Sakshi Malik, shuttler PV Sindhu and gymnast Deepa Karmakar were the winners. While in 2017, it went to the hockey player Sardar Singh and para-athlete Devendra Jhajharia.
Apart from Khel Ratna, the Arjuna Awards and the Dhyan Chand awards were also presented. Tarak Singh, the childhood coach of Rishabh Pant, Ashish Nehra, Shikhar Dhawan won the Dhyan Chand Award among 8 other winners. Indian women’s’ leading cricketer Smriti Mandhana was among the 20 athletes to win the Arjuna Award.
It was announced a few days back that Virat Kohli will be one of the winners this time for the Khel Ratna. The Twitter handle of the President of India tweeted and congratulated Virat for the honor. The Indian skipper also responded and mentioned that he was humbled to receive the prestigious award from the Honorable President.
#PresidentKovind confers the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2018 upon Shri Virat Kohli in recognition of his outstanding achievements in Cricket
•Captain of India Cricket team. Player of tournament in ICC World T20-2016
•23 Centuries and 19 Half Centuries in Test Cricket pic.twitter.com/xYg7I3kHzS
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) September 25, 2018
Virat Kohli’s response