Both Smriti Mandhana and Rohan Bopanna said that they were really happy that their hard work had been recognised through the Arjuna Award.
Arjuna Award 2019 winner list: Cricketer Smriti Mandhana and tennis star Rohan Bopanna were conferred with the Arjuna Awards by Union Sports minister Kiren Rijiju at a ceremony held in New Delhi on Tuesday. Team India opener Mandhana had missed out on the award last year due to international commitments.
Smriti Mandhana was the women cricket team’s standout performer this season in both one-day internationals and T20s. The 22-year-old is currently ranked no. 1 in the ICC ODI Batting rankings. Playing for India, Mandhana has already scored 1951 runs in ODIs at an average of over 42.
Mandhana said that she was happy and really excited as her hard work had been recognised through the Arjuna Award. “To get it today is a great feeling and hopefully I will continue performing well and winning matches for India,” Mandhana told news agency ANI.
Mandhana, who is known for her attacking style of play, is now looking to add more arsenal to her repertoire. She will be seen in action next when India take on South Africa in September.
“You have to improve because other teams are also keeping an eye on you. I am looking to consistently hit the same length of balls in different places,” Mandhana told PTI in an interview.
Rohan Bopanna thanked the minister for the award and said that he was humbled by this acknoledgement. “Such an honour to have received the Arjuna Award from the Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju. I am beyond humbled by this acknowledgment,” Bopanna posted on Twitter. Bopanna also told news agency ANI that the minister is extremely concerned about the state of sports in India.
— Rohan Bopanna (@rohanbopanna) July 16, 2019
Bopanna partnered Divij Sharan to win the Gold medal at the Asian Games held in Indonesia last year. He had also narrowly missed out on a mixed doubles medal while playing with Sania Mirza at the Rio Olympics in 2016.