India batsman Yuvraj Singh receives Arjuna award


August 30, 2012

NEW DELHI: There is a belief in certain sections that Yuvraj Singh's selection for World T20 Championships to be held in Sri Lanka next month was an emotional decision.

August 30, 2012

NEW DELHI: There is a belief in certain sections that Yuvraj Singh's selection for World T20 Championships to be held in Sri Lanka next month was an emotional decision.

Yuvraj Singh receives the Arjuna Award from Indian President Pranab Mukherjee at a function at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi.

This assumption could be a hot topic for debate, but Wednesday was a day when emotions did take centrestage as Yuvraj received the Arjuna Award at a glittering ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

The national sports awards is an overwhelming moment for any sportsperson, and so it was for this year's Khel Ratna awardees Vijay Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt and 25 other Arjuna winners inside the Ashoka Hall. The occasion was certainly a special one for Yuvraj, one of those rare cricketers to make an appearance at the National Sports Awards function.

In many ways, life has come a full circle for the Punjab southpaw, who battled cancer over the last year to return back to the cricket field recently. Yuvraj was rewarded for his performance as the man-of-the-series in the ICC World Cup last year. All that would seem a long time ago for Yuvraj, who is taking small steps towards a fresh start now.

"This award is a very special one. It is really satisfying to finally receive it after getting nominated for it a few times," Yuvraj said here on Wednesday.

While Yuvraj walked around looking his confident self, obliging the throng of autograph seekers, mother Shabnam looked concerned about her son's health, and constantly followed him. "I think you can say that this award is a fresh start for me. It comes at a time when I am getting ready to make my international comeback.\

"I have been training at the National Cricket Academy for the last three months. I also played in a couple of practice matches recently where I managed to perform well. I think I am ready to play in my first international match after a year's gap on September 8," the 30-year-old said.

Yuvraj didn't waste any time in taking a swing at his critics though, who have questioned his selection for the World T20 next month. "Critics have the right to speak but frankly they haven't seen me train at the NCA. I have been picked by the selectors after getting an 'all-clear' from the NCA," he said.

On his hero cyclist Lance Armstrong losing his battle against USADA recently, he said, "I don't exactly know the details of his case. But Lance has always been a hero of mine and will always remain so."

Yuvi's presence took some focus away from the Olympic heroes Vijay Kumar and Yogeshwar, who have attended a spate of felicitation ceremonies since their return.

"In my 7-8 year sporting career, this is one of my most special moments. Now I have got to maintain my performance. After a one month rest period, I will go back to Mhow and start preparing for the Commonwealth and Asian Games," Vijay, the London Olympics 25m rapid fire pistol silver medallist said.

Another man, who did his reputation no harm in London was Parupalli Kashyap, who went down fighting in the men's singles quarterfinals. "Ranking doesn't matter anymore, belief is the most important. I managed to beat some very good Chinese players in the Olympics and will look to continue that form. For me, the All-England and World Championships will be my two biggest tests," Kashyap, who got the Arjuna award, said.

Arjuna came as a small consolation for swimmer Sandeep Sejwal, who was the first Indian to qualify for London after achieving the 'B' qualifying mark last year. But the swimming federation's policies denied him a trip to London.

"I feel honoured to receive the award. It will motivate me to continue training harder and bring back more medals for India," Sejwal said.

Courtesy: TOI