Star cricketer VVS Laxman and world champion wrestler Sushil Kumar were among seven sportspersons who were on Tuesday honoured with the prestigious Padma Shri Award for their contribution in their respective sports.

Besides Laxman and Sushil, the other five conferred with the civilian award were weightlifter Kunjarani Devi, shooter Gagan Narang, discus thrower Krishna Poonia, para jumper Shital Mahajan and mountaineer Harbhajan Singh.

36-year-old Laxman, who has scored 7903 runs in 120 Tests at an average of 47.32, has played many memorable match-winning knocks for India in his nearly 15-year-old international career starting 1996.

Laxman, who was conferred with the Arjuna Award in 2001, has scored 16 hundreds and 49 half-centuries in Tests, besides scoring 2338 runs from 86 ODIs.

Sushil shot into limelight by bagging the bronze medal in 66kg freestyle competition in the 2008 Beijing Olympics Games — the first by an Indian since K D Jadhav’s bronze medal-winning feat at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.

He then won the 2010 World Wrestling Championships in Moscow and clinched gold in the Asian Championships and Commonwealth Games, both in Delhi last year. Sushil received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award, in 2009.

Rifle ace Narang had a memorable 2010, winning four gold medals in the Commonwealth Games and two silver in the Guangzhou Asian Games. He had also won four gold in the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

Kunjarani, one of the most decorated Indian sportspersons, has won more than 50 international medals starting with three silver medals in the World Championships in 1989. She won gold in women’s 48-kg category at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

In the Asian Games, Kunjarani, now 42, won a bronze medal each in Beijing (1990) and Hiroshima (1994).

Poonia became the first Indian woman from track and field events to win an individual gold in the Commonwealth Games when she achieved the feat in the Delhi edition last year.

Her feat was also the first time in 52 years when an Indian won an individual gold since Milkha Singh’s effort in 1958 edition. She had also won a bronze each in the Asian Games in 2006 and 2010. She was conferred the Arjuna Award last year.

Keywords: VVs Laxman, Sushil Kumar ,Padma Shri,Milkha Singh,Arjuna Award,Asian Games ,Melbourne Commonwealth Games,Kunjarani,Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna,Shital Mahajan,world champion wrestler ,Harbhajan Singh.