Yuvraj Singh received the Arjuna Award at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Wednesday, the only cricketer among 25 sportspersons to be honoured with the award this year.
The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award - the highest state honour for sportspersons in India - went to Vijay Kumar, the shooter, and Yogeshwar Dutt, the wrestler, both of who won medals at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Rahul Dravid's name had been suggested for the honour as well, but was ignored, allegedly due to miscommunication between the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the award committee. This means Sachin Tendulkar (1997-98) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (2007-08) are the only cricketers to be conferred with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, instituted in 1991-92.
For Yuvraj, the award, presented to him by Pranab Mukherjee, the Indian President, adds further gloss to his comeback from a rare form of germ cell cancer. It comes as reward for playing a lead role with bat and ball in India's march to the World Cup title in 2011.
When he was nominated for the award by the BCCI, Yuvraj had expressed hope that he would go on to win it, saying, "It's an honour that BCCI has nominated my name for the Arjuna Award. This is the second time that my name has been nominated and I hope that I am lucky enough to get it."
The selection committee was headed by Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, the 2004 Olympic Games shooting silver medallist, and included Akhil Kumar, the boxer, Khazan Singh, the swimmer, and Bhaichung Bhutia, the footballer, among others.
Yuvraj will be part of the Indian squad to play in the World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, starting on September 18.