New Delhi, Jan 25 (PTI) Sushil Kumar is an ecstatic manafter being named as one of the recipients of this year''sPadma Shri award and the ace wrestler said the recentrecognition will spur him to better his Beijing feat in the2012 London Olympics.
World champion wrestler Sushil Kumar, star cricketer VVSLaxman and ace shooter Gagan Narang were among the sevensportspersons who were today honoured with the prestigiousPadma Shri Award for their contribution in their respectivesports.
Besides Laxman, Sushil and Gagan, the other fourrecipients of the country''s fourth highest civilian award wereweightlifter Kunjarani Devi, discus thrower Krishna Poonia,para jumper Shital Mahajan and mountaineer Harbhajan Singh.
Sushil, who won a bronze medal in 66kg freestylecompetition in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, said the award willinspire him to achieve many more feats for his country.
"It is a proud come moment for me and my family. I amreally very happy. I am delighted that my hard work paid off.
The award has come as blessings for me from my elders andcountrymen," the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games gold medallisttold PTI.
"It (the award) has put additional responsibility on megoing into the London Olympics. But it will inspire me to comeup with a better performance than Beijing in the LondonOlympics," said Sushil, who missed the Guangzhou Asian Gamesdue to neck and shoulder injury.
A gloom of disappointment can be felt in Sushil''s voicewhen enquired about how tough it was to miss last year''s AsianGames.
"It was tough for me but in the end it was a wisedecision. The injury was troubling me for quite some and itgot aggravated during the Commonwealth Games.
"So, the Wrestling Federation (WFI) and my coaches askedme to take rest because if the injury flares up it can affectmy preparation for the London Olympics," he said.
Sushil shot into the limelight by bagging the bronzemedal in the Beijing Olympics -- the first by an Indian sinceK D Jadhav''s bronze medal-winning feat at the 1952 HelsinkiOlympics.
He then won the 2010 World Wrestling Championships inMoscow and clinched gold in the Asian Championships andCommonwealth Games, both in Delhi last year.
A 2005 Arjuna awardee, Sushil received the Rajiv GandhiKhel Ratna, the country''s highest honour for achievement insports, in 2009.