Mithali Raj Photograph:( AFP )
After receiving the honour, Mithali in a statement said that the award is a validation of those hours and all the sacrifices a player makes in life
India's legendary cricketer Mithali Raj is "honoured and grateful" to receive the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award on Saturday (November 13). She was conferred with the prestigious award this year in recognition of her outstanding achievements in cricket.
Apart from Mithali, Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra, wrestler Ravi Kumar, para shooter Avani Lekhara, Indian football team skipper Sunil Chhetri were among the 12 athletes who were awarded.
She is the highest run-scorer in women's international cricket and the only woman cricketer to surpass the 7000-run mark in women's ODI matches.
After receiving the honour, Mithali in a statement on Twitter said that the award is a validation of those hours and all the sacrifices a player makes in life.
The statement further read: "When I was growing up and learning to play this amazing game, representing my country was my dream. I always wanted to wear the blue jersey, which represents the absolute pride we feel for our nation. One strives for mastery but there are so many variables and infinite parameters that when success comes by, it often is a result of hours of grind every day."
"I just wanted to give cricket everything I had and I think I am happy that it pushed me harder and harder to get to this momentous day. Today, I am honoured, proud and fortunate to be a part of Indian Cricket," she added.
Truly honoured and grateful to receive the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award 🙏 pic.twitter.com/79HZOV9Uox— Mithali Raj (@M_Raj03) November 13, 2021
"Women in sport are powerful catalysts of change and when they get the appreciation they deserve, it inspires change in several other women wanting to achieve their dreams. I sincerely hope that my journey inspires young girls all across the country to pursue their dreams and know that only when you dream can you make it happen," said Mithali.
President Kovind confers Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award, 2021 on Ms Mithali Raj in recognition of her outstanding achievements in Cricket.— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) November 13, 2021
· Highest run-scorer in Women's International Cricket
· Only woman cricketer to surpass the 7000 run mark in Women's ODI matches pic.twitter.com/oc3mpiUy8R