"Congratulations and thank you for all the joy you have given us!"
Indian athletes who fought hard to achieve success at the Olympics in Rio 2016 are returning home to additional deserved praise.
The four in receipt of the Khel Ratna award are PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik, Dipa Karmakar and Jitu Rai.
PV Sindhu reached the final in women’s badminton singles.
Narrowly missing out on the top prize in a close match with Spain’s Carolina Marin, Sindhu achieved a more than respectable silver medal.
Whilst the medal is a feat in itself, she is also the first Indian badminton player to reach the final of an Olympics badminton event.
The 21-year-old is also the youngest Indian to make a podium finish in an individual event at the Olympics.
Sakshi achieved a bronze medal in women’s wrestling, becoming the first Indian woman to manage this level in her chosen sport.
She defeated Kyrgyzstan’s Aisuluu Tynybekova 3-1 in the Bronze medal match.
Malik was quick to congratulate her fellow medalist, tweeting:
“@Pvsindhu1 you were fantastic! Fought till the end! Congratulations on the Silver medal and thank you for all the joy you have given us!”
Sindhu and Malik were the only two medalists for India at Rio 2016, but not the only two to be recognised with the Khel Ratna prize.
Gymnast Dipa Karmakar narrowly missed out on a medal in a strong performance at Rio.
Though her presence was welcome enough since she is the first Indian woman to ever compete in gymnastics at an Olympic event.
Karmakar is one of only five women to land the Produnova, aka the most difficult vault in women’s gymnastics at present.
The final recipient of the Khel Ratna award in 2016 is Jitu Rai, a Nepalese-born shooter who staged a strong comeback in the 10m Air Pistol event to make it to the final.
The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Selection Committee was headed by retired Delhi High Court judge Justice S.K. Agarwal.