Table tennis star Achanta Sharath Kamal, led the star parade as President Droupadi Murmu honoured him with the country's highest sporting honour -Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna at an impressive National Sports Awards ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here on Wednesday.

Sharath was the only Khel Ratna award recipient, while 25 sportspersons, including shuttlers Lakshya Sen, HS Prannoy, woman boxer Nikhat Zareen, track and field athletes Eldhose Paul and Avinash Sable, also hogged the spotlight as they were bestowed with the Arjuna Award.  

The Khel Ratna is given for the spectacular and most outstanding performances by a sportsperson over a period of the previous four years. It carries a cash prize of Rs 25 lakh, a medal and a scroll of honour. The Arjuna award carries a cash prize of Rs 15 lakh, a bronze statue and a scroll of honour.     

The 40-year-old Sharath claimed four medals at the Commonwealth Games and is the second table tennis player after Manika Batra to get the Khel Ratna. 

Sharath won his singles gold after 16 years, the first having won at the 2006 Melbourne CWG, besides a yellow metal in the mixed doubles.

Women Boxer Nishant Zareen became the world champion in May. Lakshya Sen bagged singles badminton gold medalist at Commonwealth Games. Boxer Amit Panghal won Silver Medal at World Championship in 2019.

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