The veteran sports legends from Punjab earning laurels at the International level would be honoured with the biggest sports award of the State-‘Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award’ for the first time. The Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh would honour total 99 players including these 18 veteran sports legends on 9th July in Chandigarh with the award.” This was disclosed here today in a press communiqué by the Sports and Youth Affairs Minister, Punjab, Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi.The minister said that there are 18 such legendary players who have brought laurels to Punjab at the global level but since Maharaja Ranjit Singh Awards were instituted in 1978 only, these star players were devoid of the honour the reason being their achievements dating to the pre-1978 period. The minister also said that the Chief Minister accords immense respect to the sports and the sportspersons and that is exactly that he has amended the sports policy in order to give awards to the veteran sports stars. The minister further said that these players are pride of the State as well as the entire country so, it is our duty to felicitate them.Divulging the names of the legendary players to be given awards, Rana Sodhi said that these mainly include Triple Olympic Gold Winner Hockey player Balbir Singh Senior, Commonwealth and Asian Games Champion Milkha Singh, Best Athlete of Asia Gurbachan Singh Randhawa, India’s lone World Cup Hockey Captain Ajit Pal Singh, Spin Bowler Bishan Singh Bedi, and First Gold Medal winning Indian Woman athlete at Asian Games Kamaljeet Kaur Sandhu. Apart from these, Brigadier Harcharan Singh, Colonel Balbir Singh, Baldev Singh, Harmik Singh, Hardeep Singh, Jagjeet Singh, Gulshan Rai, Jaipal Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Balwinder Singh Fidda, Paramjit Singh and Harbhajan Singh who have earlier been bestowed with Padma Shri or Arjuna Award by the Union Government would also be honoured with the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award.
Giving more details, the Sports Minister said that besides above 18 veteran legends, the Punjab Government would also felicitate 81 other players from Punjab with the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award who have rendered exceptional performances at the National and International in sporting arena from the year 2011-2018. These also comprise of those players who have won Arjuna Award during these years. The players to be awarded include 15 for achievements in 2011 and these are- Rajpal Singh, Rajinder Singh Rahelu, Heena Sidhu, Mandeep Sidhu, Mandeep Kaur, Gagandeep Kaur, Dilawar Singh, Kuljit Singh, Jagdeep Singh, Komalpreet Shukla, Ravipal, Ranjit Kaur, Mankiran Kaur, Gurchand Singh, Hardeep Singh and Manjit Singh, 14 players for achievements in 2012-Navpreet Kaur, Sunita Rani, Gurinder Singh, Amrit Singh, Shammipreet Kaur, Kiranjit Kaur, Rajwant Kaur, Sarwanjit Singh, Sahil Pathania, Jashandeep Singh, Lakhbir Kaur, Navjot Kaur, Ranjit Singh & Mahabir Singh, 5 players for achievements in 2013- Mandeep Kaur, Amandeep Kaur, Sapna Dutta, Samit Singh and Triptpal Singh, 5 players for achievements in 2014-Davinder Singh, Gurbaaz Singh, Jasmine, Mandeep Singh and Baljit Singh.Similarly, 10 players would get the award for achievements during the year 2015- Arpinder Singh, Trisha Deb, Shahbaz Singh Bhangoo, Dharamvir Singh, Aman Kumar, Rubi Tomar, Shiv Kumar, Vikas Thakur, Davinder Singh and Amandeep Sharma, 15 players for achievements during the year 2016- Swaran Singh Virk, Khushbir Kaur, Kanwalpreet Singh, Amjot Singh, Rekha Rani, Neelam Rani, Prabhjot Kaur Bajwa, Maninder Kaur, Gurwinder Singh, Rajwinder Kaur, Gurinder Singh, Malaika Goyal, Gurpreet Singh, Jasvir Kaur and Parul Gupta, 7 players for achievements during 2017-Raj Rani, Amandeep Kaur (Handball), Amandeep kaur (Hockey), Varinder Kumar, Ajitesh Kaushal, Davinder Singh and Sanjeev Kumar and 10 players for achievements in 2018-Manpreet Singh, Navjit Kaur Dhillon, Ramandeep Kaur, Gurjit Kaur, Randeep Kaur, Veerpal Kaur, Navneet Kaur, Sahil Chopra, Harshdeep Kaur and Veena Arora.