Indian women’s cricket stalwart Mithali Raj became the first Indian woman cricketer to receive the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award. The cricket star expressed her gratitude on being conferred with highest sporting honour of India.
“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,” Mithali tweeted.
“This award is a validation of those hours of all the sacrifices a player makes her entire life. 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 further added.
Mithali believes that women in sports are the ‘catalysts’ of change as it inspires others to follow their dreams.
“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,” read Mithali’s statement.
“Any recognition from the government is special and a reminder that our game, our sport, is an important constituent of our national pride and we must continue to give it our best. I owe so much to my country, my institution Indian Railways, administrators, selectors, coaches, trainers, physiotherapists, masseuses, supporters and fans for their patience and encouragement,” the veteran cricketer added.
Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award is given for the spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports by a sportsperson over a period of the previous four years. (ANI)
Talking about her Khel Ratna, Mithali said that she is now even more motivated to perform in Women’s World Cup next year “I feel very good, it is a recognition for women’s cricket. I am sure that I will be more motivated to perform in Women’s World Cup which will be played in New Zealand next year. I have my eyes set on the World Cup, the team is shaping up really well. Our players are experienced now and we will head into the World Cup with confidence now. If we do well in World Cup, women’s cricket will reach greater heights in the country,” Raj was quoted saying in an interview.