New Delhi: Indian women`s cricket team captain Jhulan Goswami, kabaddi player Dinesh Kumar and chess prodigy Parimarjan Negi are the three Air India employees who would be conferred the prestigious Arjuna Awards by President of India Pratibha Patil.
With this, the number of Arjuna Award winners in Air India will touch 32. The national airline also has two Padma Shri and three Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardees.
Jhulan, who was the ICC Women`s Cricketer of the Year in 2007, is the first Indian woman cricketer to receive the honour. The world number one lanky pacer is employed by Air India as Customer Services Supervisor at Kolkata.
Dinesh Kumar, seasoned kabaddi player, has brought laurels to the nation with sterling performances in the World Cup in 2007 and 2006 Asian Games, where he won gold medals. He is Senior Vigilance Inspector at Delhi, Air India said in a statement.
Parimarjan became chess Grand Master at the tender age of 13, the second youngest ever in the history of the game. He acquired the International Master title at the age of 12 and is the youngest Indian GM and IM.
He also has to his credit several medals and titles in various prestigious international championships, the statement added.
Air Indians who have been, so far, recognised with top national honours like Padma Shri, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and Arjuna Award are:
Padma Shri: MS Dhoni and Harbhajan (cricket); Dhanraj Pillay (hockey).
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna: Dhanraj Pillay (hockey)
Arjuna Award: Dilip Tirkey, Mohammed Riaz, Ashish Ballal, AB Subbaiah, Dhanraj Pillay, Mukesh Kumar, Mervyn Fernandes, Jagbir Singh, MP Singh, Zafar Iqbal, BP Govinda, Ashok Kumar and P Krishnamurthy (hockey); VVS Laxman, Harbhajan Singh, Javagal Srinath, Anju Jain and Anjum Chopra (cricket); Gagan Narang, Vivek Singh and Avneet Kaur Sidhu (shooting); SD Bhavsar, A Shinde and Pankaj Shirsat (kabaddi); S Vijayalakshmi and Tania Sachdev (chess); A Maria Irudayam (carrom); Arti Pradhan and Avinash Sarang (swimming).