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Abhinav Bindra gets Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna

Press Trust of India

Posted: Aug 29, 2002 at 1337 hrs IST

President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on Thursday gave away country's most prestigious sport awards including the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, at a glittering ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

As a proud Abhinav Bindra, recipient of the highest sport award in the country - the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, walked up to the President, dressed in formals, the grandiose Ashok hall reverberated with applause from a crowd that included his parents, sister and grandmother.

The 20-year-old Bindra received a medal, a scroll of honour and a cash prize of five lakh rupees.

"I am very happy. This award has put more responsibility on me to excel and has given me the motivation to perform better in the coming international meets," Bindra said.

More awardees followed as the 14 Arjuna awards, two Dronacharya awards (2001) and three Dhyan Chand awards for lifetime achievements in Sports (2002) were given away.

The function was attended among others by Deputy Prime minister L.K. Advani, Civil Aviation Minister Shahnawaz Hussain, Sports Minister Vikram Verma, Coal Minister Uma Bharti, Minsiter of State for Sports P. Radhakrishnan, Chemicals and Fertilizer Minister S.S. Dhindsa and a host of eminent sport personalities.

Cricketer V.V.S. Laxman could not come to receive his Arjuna award as he is currently doing duty in England. The only other sportsperson who failed to make it to the grand ceremony was hockey star Dilip Tirkey. However, his uncle received the statuette, scroll of honour, ceremonial dress and a cash award of Rs three lakh on his behalf.

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