New Delhi, Jan 25 (PTI) Weightlifter Kunjarani Devi wasnot expecting to be conferred with the Padma Shri Award andsaid she was pleasantly surprised to find her name among oneof the recipients for the prestigious civilian honour.
The 48kg lifter from Manipur said she was happy thatthough lately, her hard toil has finally been recognised bythe government.
"I thought I would get the Padma Shri after I won gold inthe 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. So I was not expectingto get the award this year. When I got a call that I have beenawarded with Padma Shri I was pleasantly surprised. I am happyto have got the award though belatedly," she told PTI.
Kunjarani, now 42, has been one of the most decoratedsportspersons of India, having won more than 50 internationalmedals -- at the Asian and Commonwealth Games as well as atAsian, Commonwealth and World Championships.
She said she was happy to have got the fourth highestcivilian award of the country, having already received ArjunaAward (1990) and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna (1997).
"I have got the Arjuna Award and Rajiv Khel Ratna and thePadma award was the only one missing. So, I am happy that Ihave been honoured with it now. I have won more than 60international medals and I feel my hard work for the countryhas been recognised," said Kunjarani, who is yet to announceher retirement though she has not taken part in anyinternational event for a long time.
"I am happy for the people of Manipur that I have beennamed for the Padma Shri Award. I dedicate this award to myfamily, to my colleagues and officials at the CRPF and mycoaches," said Kunjarani who last appeared in a competition inthe Senior Nationals in Udaipur last year.