The Silk City was agog with joy on Monday when local boy and Commonwealth gold medalist K. Ravi Kumar was conferred the Arjuna Award at New Delhi. Ravi Kumar received the award from President Prativa Patil at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. "I am very happy receiving the award," he told TOI from New Delhi.
At present, Ravi is busy practicing at the India camp in Patiala for the next world championships in Paris in November. He said, "The award is a big confidence booster and I will make all efforts to bring pride to mycountry," he said.
Crediting his success to his parents, coaches and well-wishers, Ravi who is now working in the Army said the award was a result of years of hard work. "It is a dream come true and I wish he beings more fame to the country," said his mother K. Suryakanta, who was present at the award-giving ceremony. Ravi Kumar is the seventh Oriya and second person from Berhampur to get this prestigious award. In 1982, another weightlifter Bijay Kumar Satapathy of Berhampur had received the Arjuna Award.
"It is a very proud moment us. His award will motivate many talented young people to scale heights," secretary of the Orissa Weightlifting Association Narayan Sahu said. "We wish he participates in the 2012 London Olympics," said Sahu, also the vice-president of Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF). Ravi's former coach Ramesh Chandra Padhy said, "We were expecting this award for him since long going by his talent".
The Veer Hanuman Club, from where Ravi started his career, will felicitate him when he returns. Ravi started his career about seven years ago and has established a brilliant track record of winning several gold medals in national and International events. He has also set a record in the men's 69-kg category by lifting 321 kg in the New Delhi Commonwealth Games last October and won the gold.
He has represented the country in the Asian Weightlifting Championships to be in China in April. He has also won three gold medals in the senior National weightlifting championships at Bangalore recently. Representing the Services Sports Control Board (SSCB), Ravi won in the clean, jerk and overall weight category in the men's 77-kg event. The state has honoured him with the Ekalabya Award.
Sources: Times of India, First Post