Robbed of some sheen due to selection controversies this year, the National Sports Awards were presented today to the country's top athletes and coaches with shooter Ronjan Sodhi getting the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna -- the country's highest sporting honour -- while cricketer Virat Kohli was among the Arjuna awardees.
A loud applause greeted the ace shooter as he received the Khel Ratna award from President Pranab Mukherjee in the presence of a host of Ministers, dignitaries and sports celebrities.
But there was some drama just hours before the awards when long-jumper Renjith Maheshwary's Arjuna award was held back after reports emerged of him being a dope-tainted athlete.
Sodhi became the seventh shooter to be honoured with the prestigious award. Interestingly, it is for the third consecutive year that the Khel Ratna award has gone to a shooter.
Sodhi, who had a disastrous outing at the London Olympics last year, is a former world number one. He was a double trap gold-medallist at last year's Asian Games, besides being a silver-medallist at the Commonwealth Games.
Sodhi, who was the first Indian to win two back-to-back World Cup gold medals, collected the top honour which comprises a medal, citation and a cash prize of Rs 7.5 lakh each.
Another star attraction at the ceremony was cricketer Kohli, who was given a thunderous applause while receiving the Arjuna award.
However, rising badminton player P V Sindhu, who became the first Indian woman shuttler to clinch a bronze medal at the World Championships, could not be present at the function personally to take the award.