Double trap shooter Ronjan Sodhi was conferred the country's highest sporting honour - the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna - in a dazzling ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here Saturday. Virat Kohli's meteoric rise in world cricket too was recognised as he received the Arjuna Award.
President Pranab Mukherjee had a busy evening presenting Arjuna, Dronacharya, Dhyan Chand and Rashtriya Khel Protsahan awards, besides others.
The ceremony was supposed to begin at 6 pm but the president arrived five minutes later than scheduled. The venue this time was Durbar Hall instead of the usual Ashoka Hall.
Sodhi was the first to be feted, getting a medal, citation and cash prize of Rs.7.5 lakh. The 33-year-old is the seventh shooter after Abhinav Bindra (2001-02), Anjali Bhagwat (2002-03), Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (2004-05), Manavjit Singh Sandhu (2006-07), Gagan Narang (2010-11) and Vijay Kumar (2011-12) to get the Khel Ratna.
In Image: President Pranab Mukherjee poses with awardees during National Sports Awards in Rashtrapati Bhawan on Sunday