In the recently held ICC Women’s World Cup, all eyes were on Mithali Raj. The Indian captain was nation’s biggest hope at the grand tournament but by the time it ended, things had changed. India had a new hero in Harmanpreet Kaur. The lady from Punjab destroyed Australia in the semi-final scoring 175 runs to take her side into the final. A month later, on Tuesday, she had the biggest moment of her life. Harmanpreet was honoured with the Arjuna Award by President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. However, as heartbreaking, as it may sound, her parents were not in the audience and the reason will shock you further.
According to a report by The Indian Express, Harmanpreet’s parents failed to make it because of the curfew imposed in Moga after the sentencing of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim Singh was announced. “There was curfew in Moga so my parents haven’t been able to make it. I didn’t want them to take the risk. They were very excited to travel, had even got new clothes stitched. I will miss them,” she was quoted as saying in the report.
Another task faced by Harmanpreet was to switch from jeans to shining maroon sari. With her mother not by her side, it seemed like a huge task. However, Harman’s fellow awardee, basketballer Prashanti Singh’s mother came to the rescue. She helped the two sporty girls get ready for the formal evening when the country’s best sportspersons were being honoured.
However, Harmanpreet’s family did watch the function live on television from their home. “We are watching the ceremony on television and seeing Harmanpreet getting the Arjuna award means a lot to the whole family,” Satvinder Kaur, her mother said.
Here is the full list of Arjuna Award winners for their performance in the last four years:
1. Jyothi Surekha Vennam (archery)
2. Khushbir Kaur (athletics)
3. Rajiv Arokia (athletics)
4. Prashanthi Singh (basketball)
5. Laishram Devendro Singh (boxing)
6. Cheteshwar Pujara (cricket)
7. Harmanpreet Kaur (cricket)
8. Oinam Bembem Devi (football)
9. SSP Chawrasia (golf)
10. SV Sunil (hockey)
11. Jasvir Singh (kabaddi)
12. Prakash Nanjappa (shooting)
13. Anthony Amalraj (table tennis)
14. Saketh Myneni (tennis)
15. Satyawart Kadian (wrestling)
16. Mariyappan (para-athlete)
17. Varun Singh Bhati (para-athlete)